Now, the 23-year-old, from Oregon, has almost completed his MA in public history and heritage at Swansea University and plans to stay in the country and work in education.
Nicholas said: “I remember getting off the coach in Swansea and it was sunny. Everything looked beautiful – and it felt a bit overwhelming to have finally made it to Wales.
“Although the application process was straightforward, getting here took a long time. While studying for my undergraduate degree, I started researching universities in the UK in 2018 and reached out to an advisor, and that’s when Swansea came up as a good option.
“I liked its reputation and applied but decided to defer so that I could volunteer in Ghana with the American Peace Corps, helping with water accessibility, sanitation and maternal health. The pandemic cut my programme short and in 2020, I was evacuated back home.
“I decided to reapply to Swansea, gaining more work experience and enough money in the US to move to Wales in September, 2021. But after all that, I ended up missing my flight after a mix-up with covid tests which meant I had to pay for another plane ticket and move here a week later.
“Although I took a fair amount of time to adapt, I feel like I’ve been supported by my professors’ and the university throughout – and it’s a great course. I’ve also been lucky enough to start an internship at Swansea City Council which is something I’ve not encountered before in the US.
“Socialising in Wales seems to consist of coffee and pubs, but it’s a lot of fun and good kebabs are very hard to find in the US. I am fascinated by the Welsh culture, language, and the country’s interesting history. Who else has a dragon on its flag?
“Since moving to Swansea, I’ve made friends from all over the world, and I feel settled here. Swansea reminds me of my hometown. The history of the city, the port, its identity, and population size all remind me of where I grew up – and I guess that’s why I haven’t missed home so much.
“I can’t quite believe my degree is coming to an end, I’ve enjoyed it so much. Now, I’m about to start work as a teaching assistant and my partner Hunter is planning to move to Swansea to join me and start a three-year degree in psychology this autumn.
“To those people thinking of studying in Wales, I’d say apply and take it one step at a time. The university is always eager to help and I’ve found it so easy to make good connections with people in Wales – there’s a lot to experience if you’re willing to study abroad.”