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Kaitlyn Metzger Reflects Over Her Move From Europe to Missouri

Freshman+Kaitlyn+Metzger+smiles+over+her+new+life+in+Missouri.
Credit to Alayna Clement
Freshman Kaitlyn Metzger smiles over her new life in Missouri.

For many people, experiencing everything Europe has to offer is a dream they can only hope to achieve. For freshman Kaitlyn Metzger, however, it was reality. For ten years of her life, she called Vicenza, Italy, her home. She was born in Indiana and she moved to Italy when she was two years old. Living most of her life in Europe has given her the opportunity to visit around ten countries including, Ireland, Germany and France.

“I’ve been to a lot of places, but I can’t talk to anyone here about any of this because I don’t want to come off as being a snob,” Metzger said. “But it’s so much of my life I can’t talk about.”

During her time in Italy, she lived near a military base for her father’s work, which revolved around the managing of United States affairs in Africa for the Department of Defense.

“We were there for a military thing so we weren’t really citizens and so there’s a lot less opportunities,” Metzger said. “Any clubs we wanted to be in had to be ones that are on the base. It’s not like here, we can just go to the YMCA. I mean, we probably could do that but it was a lot harder because we didn’t know Italian.”

Moving back to America was a drastic change for Metzger. Leaving the familiar streets of Italy and entering the cookie-cutter suburbs of Missouri was an immense culture shock.

“If we traveled anywhere, people would be speaking foreign languages and the military base was guarded by Italian people who worked on the base with us,” Metzger said. “It was kind of weird because that was always the background noise, and then moving here, sometimes my brain would think that it’s still the background noise, because it was normal for me.”

Upon arriving in Missouri, she was looking for ways to adjust to the move. One of those ways was gaining new experiences.

“The first time I went to a Walmart it terrified me, because even the bigger chain stores overseas would be in a mall, and it wouldn’t just be the big, giant Walmart box,” Metzger said.

Even though she didn’t know Italian, her and her family adapted to fit in the lifestyle of Italy. Moving to America, she had to adapt again. However, this experience has exposed her to different cultures and how to be respectful of them.

“The atmosphere [in Italy] is a little bit different too because people are different everywhere,” Metzger said. “Just be open-minded about other cultures and know that they aren’t going to try to adapt for you, you’re going to have to adapt.”

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