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Sophomore Gains Valuable Experience during Internship in Ireland

Management student returns stateside with real-life business skills

Deana Kosmalski with WK Fitness owners Mark Evans, left, and Shane Finn.

A Sacred Heart University sophomore is the first student enrolled in SHU’s semester program in Dingle, Ireland, to obtain an internship while abroad

Deana Kosmalski, 19, is studying nursing and business management. She began working at WK Fitness gym in Dingle at the start of the spring semester. She spent four days a week, six hours a day at the gym, learning more about health as well as the ins and outs of managing a business.

“It was a great learning experience,” Kosmalski said during a Face Time interview. “I’ve received a lot of knowledge.” She said not only is the internship a great addition to her résumé, but she also learned how to be more professional and how to market a company while developing a business mindset.

Her duties included encouraging people to sign up for a running festival, promoting the business through emails and social media, checking gym members’ blood pressure and weight and advocating overall good health habits.

This experience was a new one for Kosmalski and the gym; she never had an internship before, and WK Fitness had never had an intern. The gym, in its second year of operation, has approximately 800 members and plans to expand into a franchise, Kosmalski said.

Kosmalski said the gym’s employees and members were very welcoming. The gym’s owner, 23-year-old Shane Finn, even offered her a summer job.

She said she enjoyed the experience and didn’t mind balancing her course work, internship and social life. In fact, while she was in Ireland, she went on weekend trips to see parts of Italy and France. She said she definitely made the right decision to apply to the Dingle semester program.

Jerry Reid, director of the SHU in Dingle program, said Kosmalski’s internship adds a new personal, social and intellectual dimension to the study-abroad experience. “In addition, as an international internship experience, it is a valuable factor in career preparation and future employability,” said Reid, who also is a professor of anthropology and sociology. “Students are well aware of the benefits offered by internships, and an international internship will set them apart from their competitors in the job market.

“Dingle is a popular study-abroad location for our students,” Reid said. “To complete required course work and have a high-quality international internship in such a beautiful and interesting part of the world is a great opportunity.”