My name is Janek Köhler, I´m 28 years old and I´m studying Social Work (6. Semester, B.A.) in Hildesheim, Germany. I decided for myself to gather more experiences abroad and chose Zagreb for my destination. Zagreb was my prefered location, because the opportunities to study in my field were really great. Furthermore, my perception of Croatia was a beautiful one, I always associate Croatia with pretty beaches, beautiful cities and extensive food. Beforehand, my assupmtions be confirmed very rapidly.
Why living/studying abroad?
To be abroad for a certain time is such a amazing opprtunity for your own personal development. You gather expereinces about different cultures, languages and perspektives of diverse people. In times of an acclerating globalization process, it is, in my personal opinion, invaluable to collect experiences abroad. It doesn´t matter ifyou are living, working or studying abroad, you´ll gather the personal benefits anyway. Beside the serious points, it´s such fun to be abroad, because you´ll meet a lot of great people and make a lot of nice activitites.
Living in Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and the city with the most inhabitants in Croatia (790 017). Croatia itselfs has a population of 4,2 million people. The cities at the coast (Duborvnik, Split & Rijeka e.g.) are beautiful and worth to visit, especially in summer. There are a lot of more beautiful citites, but I didn´t had the time to see them all. Zagreb itselfs is a nice & great city in which you can find and do mostly everything.
I lived in a shared flat with five people all from different country of Europe (Portugal, Latvia, Poland, Spain) and it was a great experience living with different and amazing people. The rent isn´t, compared to Germany, expensive. I paid for a single room (16 m²) in a big house 260 Euro/month, with bills included which I found easily in provided Facebook groups.
The food is awesome in Croatia (you have to try Burek, pastry filled with a lot of cheese) and there are a lot of restaurants, bars and cafés. You can almost go to the localities everytime, it´s always crowded in a postive way. The atmosphere in this spots is great. People are talking, laughing and meeting anytime. The prices are very fair related to the offered food & drinks, compared to Germany but in my opinion, food in groceries is a bit expensive. You should try all different kinds of Rakija (traditional liquor out of Croatia).
The opportunities to shape your social life in Zagreb are huge and broad. In Zagreb are many places you should visit the awesome Cathedral of Zagreb, the King Tomislav Park next to the main train station or the Ban Jelacic Suqare in the inner center. Futhermore the Jarun Lake is a worthy place to see, also the Maksimir Park and the Museum of Broken Relationships.
The most beautiful spot I visited was the Plitvice Lakes near Zagreb amazing waterfalls, lakes and untouched nature! I attended a lot of sport events, like ice hockey matches from the locla teams (KHL Medveščak Zagreb) or football games (GNK Dynamo Zagreb). The night life in Zagreb is pretty cool, many opportunities for partying or go out for a beer or cocktail. Especially the Rakija Bar in Zagreb, Ziraffa Bar and the Hollywood Club were the best place to drink, party and meet nice young people.
Croatia is in my opinion very good located to travel around southeast Europe and the Balkans, I traveled tot he beautiful coast of Croatia (Split, Rijeka & Zadar, Plitvicer Lakes), to Serbia (Novi Grad, Belgrad) and to Hungary (Budapest, such amazing city and trip). The costs wer, compared to Germany, relative cheap. Due to your possible leisure time, it´s proable to travel a lot around through southeast Europe.
Studies in Croatia/Zagreb
It was a nice experience, which I don´t want to miss anymore, to study in Zagreb. The classes were interesting and well designed. The teachers are communicative, helpful und eager to support yout studies in the best possible way. For me, they are not that serious as German teachers, but I liked it that way! You can always talk tot hem or asking question for exams, tests or further approaches. First, I was afraid to study in English, but this fear flew away very fast. Everybody tries to help you and gives his/her best to help as much as they can. The new gathered perspectives, experiences and knowledge and for sure, your personal development, are irreplaceable for your future and working life.
I also worked for a social institution in Samobor (approx. 20 km. from Zagreb), which is called „Pozitiva Samobor“ and which is partner, inter alia, of Erasmu+ programme. This institution is working with young people in several ways and tries to design and omplement programs to develop skills and abilities of young people. My tasks are to prepare and conduct Erasmus workshops, help to develop a strategie for local young people and to learn more about social work in practice.
At the end I can say for myself, the Erasmus abroad was one of my best experience related to my personal development, perspectives about cultures & diversity and for my studies. I can highly recommend everyone to go, live or study abroad and don´t miss this opportunity!