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Oana Nicola

Romanian, American

First Language(s): Romanian
Second Language(s): English, Spanish


Oana Nicola studies creative writing and psychology at Emory University. She believes in sunset drives, 11:11 wishes, and advice from TV shows. When she's not making hyper-specific playlists about her life, you'll find her living it. Someday, she hopes to become a professional screenwriter and director, sharing her stories of beloved and insufferable female characters.


What was your favorite book as a child?

I had many favorite books growing up, but a staple of my childhood was the Magic Tree House series. I permanently immigrated from Romania to the U.S. when I was 8 years old, and the series helped me perfect this new language because it was captivating and easy to read. For a while, I struggled to fit in with my peers and longed for escapism, and reading about two misfit siblings traveling across worlds, times, and cultures provided that quite literally. Jack and Annie were transported to some of the most riveting moments in history and held a lot of agency in shaping not only their own destinies but a grander future, which was inspiring to me because I felt such little control over my own situations at the time. The Magic Tree House series fostered a new sense of empowerment, adventure, and creativity in me that I would hold onto for the rest of my life.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

As an avid reader and listener, I fell in love with the power of words at a young age. Words transported me into different realities and helped me learn about and gain empathy for the characters within the stories I was consuming, opening me up to a wide variety of experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I loved books, movies, poems, and song lyrics because they were a personal exploration into the mind of someone else and felt inspired to share my own stories in hopes of being understood by others. I began writing about the things I went through that I never felt comfortable sharing in different contexts and sharing my words with the people I trusted brought us closer and felt liberating in a way that nothing else did before. Creative writing is the best way for me to share my stories and be understood by others and my deepest connection to the outer world.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

I’ve always been a little rebellious, so I’ve had many adventures in the literal sense. I’ve traveled to many countries, been skiing, bungee jumping, and to more concerts than I can count. My high school years resembled a less aesthetically pleasing Euphoria episode for better or worse, and I was known for troublemaking by the people around me. I think I acted out when I was younger because I felt afraid and misunderstood but didn’t know how to articulate that at the time but making risky choices was never as glamorous or fulfilling as I’d hoped. Although I’ve had adventurous physical experiences throughout my life, I think that the most thrilling thing I’ve ever done was mental. After going to therapy for various struggles, I discovered the importance of my own inner monologue and worked on understanding myself even when it was terrifying. In the end, I learned that I had so much love to give and a lot of hope for the world but feared expressing this due to my past experiences and the fear of getting hurt. The most thrilling thing I’ve ever done was learn to love and express myself freely.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

When I have a coherent plan for my writing, I actually prefer not to listen to music. As much as I love music, I get distracted easily and get too caught up in the song to focus on what I want to say. Most external stimuli distract me, so I get my ideas across best when I’m sitting at my desk in dead silence with my phone in a different room. In situations where I’m not sure what I want to write about, however, I like a little music to get my creative juices flowing. I have different playlists that match whatever vibe I want to convey, from high energy rap to slow tempo indie tunes. In the past, I’ve also made playlists for characters in my stories and liked to listen to them while I planned out their arcs or wrote about them.


Three Modes of Death & Serenity
Issue Spring '22

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz