From Tiny to Huge


Hello my name is Emiljo Zhupani, a senior at UMSL - University of Missouri Saint Louis. I moved to United States with my family at the age of 11 and have resided in Saint Louis ever since. Making this journey was an incredible feeling for my family and I to experience a new life with better opportunities, but yet terrifying. I come from a small country named Albania between Italy and Greece, so United States being the great nation that it is scared the living crap out of me. “How am I going to survive this?” thought my 11 year old self but somehow I managed and continue to do so. Living here these past 12 years have been a great experience but yet a challenge, and for any kid immigrating from another country knows what the most difficult one of these challenges is: Culture Balance.

Finding the right balance between my original culture and the American culture has always made things more difficult for me because I’m constantly struggling with finding a place to belong with both of them at the same time. Some of those include helping your parents learn the language, traditions, basically the American culture as a whole. By trying to make them understand that everything is different, I’ve always had to deal with the fact that I have also grown and matured in the states and so I have a different perspective on life but I’ve always felt as an outsider to my friends because at the end of the day I don't truly feel American to them even though my english is nearly perfect and I live an American lifestyle. So where do I belong? I’ve always wondered about this question until I finally understood and accepted that I’m different therefore I have developed a Third Culture.