With many young people emigrating from Croatia, what keeps those who decided to stay (at least for now)?
The emigration of young people from Croatia in search of better business opportunities and living standards, unfortunately, is a well-known story. Each of us young people in Croatia knows at least a few people from their environment who, at one point, said that enough was enough and decided to seek happiness somewhere abroad.
According to official Eurostat data, from 2015 to 2019, Croatia’s population decreased by 4.26 inhabitants per 1,000 citizens only thanks to emigration. Therefore, the Croatian emigration rate is the second-worst in the European Union (after Lithuania).
These data indicate that economic prosperity influences population decisions to emigrate. Besides, due to the exodus of the young and working population, there is an additional reduction in GDP per capita that closes the cycle of poverty and decline in Croatia.
However, there are many who are aware of the poor position of young people in Croatia but still do not want to give up and decide to stay in Croatia. We’re wondering what do those young people, recent graduates, think about this whole situation and what are their reasons for staying in Croatia.
We continue our series with Dorian from the island of Rab.
First of all, please introduce yourself. What are you studying/what did you study? Do you have a job currently?
My name is Dorian Antešić. I am studying Finance and Banking at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Rijeka. I am currently on exchange study in Coimbra, Portugal, to write my master’s, so I do not have a job, but I am working on my podcast. Its name is “Pričajmo o novcu” (Let’s talk about money), and it is the first Croatian podcast specialized in finance and economics topics. It is a hobby project that I enjoy recording while I research for my thesis. I like to speak with intelligent people, so it is a perfect way to communicate with comprehension.
What is it like being a student/recent graduate in Croatia during this coronavirus time?
It is very uncertain considering that we do not know what will be open in the future. Businesses are cautious with expenditure and investments. Social life is not rich, so it is getting boring after more than one year of restrictions.
What are your experiences searching for a job in your profession in Croatia?
I did not yet search for a job in Croatia, considering my profession. My focus is currently on the international scene. I want to travel the world a bit. Therefore, since I am studying abroad, it seems reasonable that I continue the travel and develop my career. In earlier years, I mainly worked during summer to focus on my faculty obligations and my projects during other seasons.
What do you think of the Croatian Government’s efforts to provide opportunities for graduates?
Actually, I did not research what possibilities are offered by the Government. I was focused on my own effort to find jobs and/or internships.
Many young people your age decide to emigrate from Croatia to find a better job opportunity and/or life standard. What do you think about it?
I am one of them but not necessary for those reasons. I want to travel the world, experience different cultures. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I lived this way for the past five years of my study. I studied abroad twice, first in Prague and now in Coimbra. Also, I was part of international youth organizations since the beginning of faculty. I like that lifestyle, and I want to continue to live like that for some time.
I am also not a determinist. I do not want to say that I will live abroad or only in Croatia. We will see what the future brings. If I work and live abroad, it doesn’t mean that I will stay there forever. In the end, I am an individualist. I do not care about countries. The goal is to have a good life for my loved ones and me, whether in Croatia, the EU, or Africa. 🙂
In your opinion, what would encourage young people to stay in Croatia?
Better economy. Just that. No “government benefits,” no “family benefits.” That is just bullshit :). The only thing that will encourage young people to stay in Croatia is the same or better opportunities than in the rest of the EU. If they see that they can have a better life with their skills outside of Croatia, they will go there. The world is globalized. Young people live internationally through the internet. We speak with foreigners almost every day through social media. Borders don’t play that big thing nowadays.
Have you ever considered moving out of Croatia and why?
I did. I am focused on building my career. I love business, economics, and the crypto industry, and I very much see myself working there. In Croatia, not many companies are building the crypto world or investment funds that are supporting them. I am interested primarily in investing in crypto, which plays a big part in my job search.
As a recent graduate, what is your impression of the education system in Croatia? What do you think is good about it and what could be better?
The Croatian education system is, in my opinion, of good quality, but it can be much, much better with no significant financial investments. For my profession, we should teach more about technical skills like Excel and programming. They are an essential part of working life, but we still write and calculate mostly on paper through both Bachelor’s and Master’s level. I know that is the same thing with other professions like sociology, where I have a good friend. Data analysis is an integral part of many professions, but we focus on them minimally.
Based on your own experience, can you say that everything is possible in Croatia if you work hard, work on yourself, are educated and ambitious?
I think yes. If people realize that their future is their responsibility, not the government’s, everything is possible. We have many successful individuals as examples. If they can, then it is possible.
If you could change only one thing in Croatia, what would it be, and why do you think it’s important?
To become a capitalist country.
People are too dependent on the government, financially and mentally. When people trade freely with personal responsibility, they create value for themselves and the whole society. Currently, Croatian people want government intervention in every aspect of life, from business to education. They think that government is there to solve their problems which is mostly the other way around – the Government creates issues, and people are there to deal with them. People should focus on creating value for others.
As a young Croatian, what are you most proud of in Croatia?
I am also very proud of our tech business successes that we see lately. It is showing people that world success is possible, and we should strive for excellence.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of Croatia, and will it be a better or worse place for your children?
I am optimistic about Croatia’s future because I am optimistic about the future of the whole world. People are smart, and they will always find solutions to problems. Always.
Are you a student or recent graduate who would like to contribute your voice and experiences to this series? If yes, please contact [email protected] with the subject “Graduate.”
To read more from the Croatian Graduate Perspective series, follow TCN’s dedicated page.