From Rijeka to Slavonia: Dentist Couple Finds Happiness in Eastern Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

While everyone would have you believe Slavonia is all but empty, some people are drawn in the opposite direction…

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of March, 2018, a young married couple whose love towards their profession originally brought them together, replaced Rijeka for Osijek last summer, taking their two year old child with them.

While it would seem to most that Slavonia is experiencing a very unfortunate one way flow of traffic these days, the two dentists felt the call of Slavonia and ditched their excellently paid positions in Rijeka for a somewhat quietier life doing the same thing in Eastern Croatia.

Otherwise, Zoran Dragaš is a native of Popovac in Baranja, and his wife Matea Penavić Dragaš is from Opuzen, Dalmatia. As previously mentioned, their mutual passion for their work in dentistry got them together in Rijeka, but their desire for something a bit different took them away from their secure and well paid positions, to no less than Slavonia, where, according to Jutarnji list, they felt they could work more independently.

The two dentists were fortunate in the fact that their move to Slavonia was a success, where they now have three clinics offering everything that modern dentistry requires to their patients in Osijek.

In the sea of depressing stories about Slavonia gradually emptying and buses and planes being filled with line after line of people heading for Ireland, the United Kingdom and Germany in search of a better life and more socio-economic opportunities, it would seem that there is still light for Eastern Croatia yet, in the somewhat unexpected form of fillings and extractions.

”I’d say that this is a natural sequence in professional development. We had excellent, well-paid jobs, gained some great experience, but after eight years of strain, we decided to draw a line under it and set some priorities, which meant to start working for ourselves,” stated Dr. Dragaš, who speaks openly and very frankly about their reasons for moving to Eastern Croatia, an area from which an alarming number of people are continuing to leave.

Dragaš made no qualms about the sentimental value involved in the move, given the fact that both he and his family hail from Baranja, but is also realistic and not donning any rose tinted glasses, stating that of course economic opportunities for dentists and dentistry in Eastern Croatia were naturally a strong pull towards the area in themselves.

The situation with dentistry and the Dental Medicine Network in Eastern Croatia is different in that it provides dentists with the opportunity to be a lot more independent and offers them much more freedom and flexibility to run their own ”show”, so to speak, making life a lot more pleasant for the former Rijeka based dentists, and offering top of the range treatment and equipment to dental patients in Slavonia.


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