Student Ambassadors (left to right) Maggie Sabin, Michael Zimmerman, and Laura Rossi.
Michael Zimmerman, from Iowa; Laura Rossi, from Ohio; Maggie Sabin, from Indiana, and Brianna Andrade, from Arkansas, have been selected to take up roles as British Council Student Ambassadors.
They will undertake their initial training at the British Council USA in Washington this month, before initiating and planning a minimum of two creative events each term for fellow students at their respective home universities.
Mike Zimmerman, aged 22, is from Cedar Rapids in Iowa, where he attends the University of Iowa.
Mike, who studied Business at Swansea University, said: "From my first visit to Tesco, to the last lecture, my time spent in Swansea has been full of life-changing experiences. Studying abroad has given me the opportunity to travel all over Europe; while living in Wales has allowed me to become part of a community.
"Nowhere else in the world can you swim in the ocean, hike through a castle, and watch six-nations rugby, all in the same day. This is why I studied abroad!"
Laura Rossi, aged 21, is from Pickerington in Ohio, where she attends Ohio University. She was one of the British Council’s student bloggers during her time at Swansea, and her blog can be found at http://www.britishcouncil.org/usa-education-students-student-life-blogs.htm.
Laura, who studied modules in English, Geography, History, and Media Studies at Swansea University, said: "The other day a friend asked me what I am going to miss most about Swansea. I said the Bay – proximity to the sea, which is true, but isn't the right answer, as I realised when I really stopped and thought about it. What I will miss most about Swansea is simply living in Swansea.
"It's been an amazing year, and next year as an Ambassador for the British Council USA, I plan to make sure everyone knows how much fun I had here, and how much fun they could have too."
History, American Studies, and Media Studies were the module choices at Swansea for Maggie Sabin, aged 21, from Portage, Indiana, who attends Washington and Jefferson College.
She added: "I have realised that this year has probably been the best of my life. Living in the UK is something everyone should definitely experience. The people I have met while living here, are some of my best friends. I am quite upset to be leaving the UK, but this isn't the end – I will definitely be back!"
Brianna Andrade (pictured below), aged 21, from Conway, Arkansas, attends Arcadia University. During her time at Swansea, Brianna studied modules in Health Science, Chemistry, Welsh, and Philosophy.
She said: "Studying abroad has been the most amazing experience of my life. After living in Swansea for 10 months, I started to call it home – and I cannot wait to return! I've learned so many things this past year that I can only attribute to studying abroad. I feel I have become a more open-minded individual and definitely more independent.
"The thing I enjoyed the most about my year abroad was living in the student village. Because I lived with British students, I was able to spend most of my time with them and actually feel part of the British culture. I would not change this past year for anything and I'm really sad my time abroad had to end so soon."
Michael, Laura, Maggie, and Brianna came to study in Swansea through the University's American Studies Exchange Office. The office arranges study abroad opportunities for students, through reciprocal exchange agreements and direct enrolment basis.
Exchange visits between the students of the American Studies Department and partner Universities in the US has been established since 1982.
The programme has successfully grown to include 45 US partner Universities, who send approximately 210 visiting students to Swansea each year, in addition to the 40 or so exchange students that swap places with Swansea's American Studies students each year.
Professor Jon Roper, Head of the Department of American Studies at Swansea University, said: "It is particularly pleasing that the British Council has recognised the outstanding quality not only of these four American students, but also of the Department's study abroad programmes.
"The Department is one of the leading centres for American Studies in the UK and offers a wide range of courses in American literature, history and politics and popular culture at both undergraduate and postgraduate level."
For more information about the British Council USA visit http://www.britishcouncil.org/usa, and for more information about the American Studies Exchange Office (ASEO) at Swansea University visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/sao/.