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Relocation Stories: Returning Home After College


My name is Emma Schwaller, and I was born and raised in Council Bluffs. My dad was a park ranger at Hitchcock Nature Center, allowing our family to live in the beautiful Loess Hills sanctuary. My mom has been an elementary teacher at Lewis Central her entire career, and I attended LC from kindergarten through graduation.

After high school, I attended Iowa State University to study Interdisciplinary Design. I wanted to get out of my hometown for college to see what else the state of Iowa had to offer. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2017, I got married, and my husband and I decided to return to Council Bluffs to start our careers and adult life.

My husband and I met in Ames at ISU, but we were both born and raised in the Council Bluffs and Omaha metro. After graduating, we both wanted to live near our families and return to our roots, so we began our house-hunting adventure in the metro area. After quickly realizing that Omaha’s market was very competitive and that we couldn’t find an affordable house in an ideal location, we decided Council Bluffs was the correct location. After several months of searching, we found the perfect starter home in the historic Gibraltar neighborhood.

After moving in, we felt completely spoiled. Both of us had less than a five-minute commute to work! I work at the Council Bluffs Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Director of Marketing, and my husband works at Sherbondy’s Garden Center as the Nursery Manager, just minutes from each other. This allowed us to carpool, ride bikes to work, and occasionally walk to the office, thanks to Council Bluffs’ fantastic trail system.

Since I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, I thought I knew everything about the town. Man, was I wrong! Being away for five years and returning as an adult allowed me to see my hometown in a completely new way. Being born into an active, outdoor-loving family, I was already aware of our amazing parks and trails. However, I was shocked to learn about our one-of-a-kind public art, numerous community events, and delicious dining options.

More Council Bluffs natives should consider returning to our vibrant community after graduating college or finishing trade school. We have affordable housing, access to big-city amenities, numerous career opportunities, great outdoor activities, outstanding live music, a great brewery, and delicious restaurants!


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