Foreigners Self-Isolating in Croatia: Do You Feel Safer? Gina from Canada on Solta

Total Croatia News

gina-jaram (5).jpg

April 2, 2020 – Do foreigners in Croatia feel more or less safe sitting out COVID-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? A new series on TCN, with Gina Jaram from Canada on Solta as our 12th contributor.

Oxford University recently published some research on government responses to coronavirus which showed that Croatia currently has the strictest measures in the world. While inconvenient, this is a good thing in terms of reducing the spread of the virus, and I am certainly not alone in my admiration of the official Croatian handling of this crisis in recent weeks, both in terms of action and communication. 

But what do other expats here think? And how does it compare with the response in their home country? Would they rather sit this one out here or there? In the first of a new series on TCN, we will be featuring expats from all over the world to see what their views are on life in corona Croatia rather than back home. So far we have heard from expats in Croatia from Romania, USA, Ireland, UK, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Singapore and Germany. Next up, Canadian Gina Jaram on the island of Solta near Split.

If you would like to contribute to this series, full details are below. Now, over to Gina. 

gina-jaram (5).jpg

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

Today, I am okay. Honestly, it changes by the day, sometimes even the hour. I am not doing well overall (mentally and emotionally) in this situation, but I know I am not alone. Thankfully, I live with my Mom on our beautiful island of Solta and our 4 cats (!!!), and my boyfriend is also here for now, so I am not alone, but I do feel alone at times because I cannot leave the island whenever I want. 

I moved here in October 2018, both my parents were born in Croatia and I decided to ‘come back’ to live here. I was just about to receive my Citizenship the week that the rules all fell into place, so I feel like I am in limbo right now, just waiting. Everything that was supposed to happen just came to a halt, including teaching English in Split 2 days a week and any other opportunities I had waiting. It feels like everything was stripped from underneath my feet, and I am having a really hard time coping with that. I know it will all be okay though, I am at least positive in that regard.

I miss being able to sit at the local Caffe for a couple of hours each day sipping on a coffee or a beer. Just sitting and enjoying somewhere outside of my house is what I am really missing right now, and human contact in the form of friends. I am an extrovert, and we’ve been forced into being INTROVERTS and that is also hilarious to me. And yes, I’m taking it all personally, just to throw some humor into the mix.

gina-jaram (4).jpg

When did you realise that corona was going to be a big issue?

I really didn’t. I didn’t think it wasn’t going to be a global pandemic, I was so ignorant towards the whole thing. I was sitting in Black Dog in Split the night of the 18th when we were talking about it and reading on the news that everything would be shut down except essential shops and businesses. That’s when I knew it was going to be a big issue, because everything just got real from then on. Also, the fact that there was already 1 case in Croatia at that time, if I am correct. The next day, they were asking people to stay home if they didn’t need to go out, and then I started really reading the news reports and articles online. I honestly live in my own bubble, and this has forced me out of it.

What is your impression of the way Croatia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

I personally think they are dealing with it a whole lot better than a lot of other countries, but that is my perspective. Some say they are going overboard, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry in the long run. I feel really safe (especially being on an island, with no cases here so far), I am not too worried about myself, just other people and perhaps their careless attitudes towards it. 

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Croatia doing better/worse?

I am originally from Vancouver, and I honestly try to keep my reading about it to a minimum, and mostly read what is happening in Croatia, because it’s information overload. From what I can see and read, British Columbia is doing a pretty great job at keeping it under the belt, though they were way behind in the self-isolation aspect and shutting down businesses right away. All in all, I am happy to be here and NOT there, because I have no feelings towards Vancouver anymore, and there are less people here so that brings me comfort I guess. It also really helps that my Mom is very in tune with what is happening in the world, so she informs me a lot about everything as she reads and listens all day. 

gina-jaram (2).jpg

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

I believe the daily update here in Croatia is helpful. I cannot say the same for Solta, we have been given updates sometimes only every 4 days. As you know, living on an island compared to the rest of the country is so different. I feel that people on the island are very frustrated and I do not blame them one bit. Though some are freaking out daily about not having reports, I feel we don’t have too much to worry about. They want people to stop coming and going on the ferry (and not many people are going across except for those that work in Split, and those that work on the island, and honestly you cannot stop people from working). That attitude really bothers me here – the small village mentality, trying to control what others do and tattle-taling on them, spying on them, calling the Police on them for no reason other than to try and sabotage them. Just worry about yourselves, not what others are doing.

Meanwhile back in Canada, and major cities, they get a live update from the Canadian Prime Minister, and all the respective cities also have daily updates from the Health Minister, etc. 

All in all, I think both countries are communicating urgently and wisely.

What’s the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

Nothing really… now. I finally was delivered some art supplies 2 days ago from a friend in Split that ordered them for me online, and that is all I was missing during the first week of self-isolation, now I have them. I have my laptop, my phone, availability to take walks if need be, work out if I feel like it, etc. I can find things to do to keep me busy. Netflix has been a saviour for me!

gina-jaram (1).jpg

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

For me? That I don’t respond well to pandemics and panic. At all. I internalize everything, and if you could see what’s happening in my mind it would be a map of chaos and utter despair. And that I am really bad at keeping calm in situations that we’ve been taught our whole life to be ‘calm’ about. However, I am just going to go with the flow, and not force any feelings on myself, and hope that one day when this is all over I will have learned a valuable lesson about myself, and to eventually learn how to stay calm in situations that are out of my control. Also, one thing I have really learned is that I can do without so many things that I had easy access to before this all started. It’s funny how that happens.

What have I learned about others? That they are way more calm and prepared than I would have been.  I’ve learned that some people are completely selfish and some that are completely willing to drop everything to help people, I admire that. I am also amazed at how people can be so resourceful at a time with less resources, kudos to them! I have to give props to my Mom for being the most calm during this situation as she’s always been well prepared for this sort of thing for years, because her personality always makes her think ahead. So I’m super thankful for her. I don’t care too much about others at this point, just trying to get through these times with those that are close to me.

Thanks Gina, stay safe and see you on the other side.  

TCN is starting a new feature series on foreign experiences of sitting out covid-19 here in Croatia compared to their home country. If you would like to contribute, the questions are below. Please also include a para about yourself and where you are from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum to [email protected] Subject Corona Foreigner

If you would be interested to record a video version for our partners please let us know in the email. Thanks and stay safe. 

Foreigners Self-Isolating in Croatia: Do You Feel Safer Than in Your Home Country?

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that corona was going to be a big issue? 

What is your impression of the way Croatia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Croatia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What’s the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis. 

TCN has recently become a partner in Robert Tomic Zuber’s new R+ video channel, initially telling stories about corona experiences. You can see the first TCN contribution from this morning, my video from Jelsa talking about the realities of running a news portal in the corona era below. If you would like to also submit a video interview, please find Robert’s guidelines below 


The video footage should be recorded so that the cell phone is turned horizontally (landscape mode).

There are several rules for television and video news:- length is not a virtue- a picture speaks more than a thousand words

In short, this would mean that your story should not last more than 90 seconds and that everything you say in the report should be shown by video (for example, if you talk about empty streets, we should see those empty streets, etc.).

How to do it with your cell phone? First, use a selfie camera to record yourself telling your story for about a minute and a half. Ideally, it would be taken in the exterior, except in situations where you are reporting on things in the interior (quarantine, hospital, self-isolation, etc.). Also, when shooting, move freely, make sure everything is not static.

After you have recorded your report, you should capture footage that will tell your story with a picture, such as an earlier example with empty streets.

One of the basic rules of TV journalism is that the story is told in the same way as a journalist with his text. Therefore, we ask you for additional effort. Because we work in a very specific situation, sometimes you may not be able to capture footage for each sentence of the report. In this case, record the details on the streets: people walking, the main features of the city where you live, inscriptions on the windows related to the virus, etc.

The same rules apply if you are shooting a story from your apartment, self-isolation, quarantine. We also need you to capture footage that describes your story.

When shooting frames to cover your reports, it is important that you change the angle of the shot (in other words, shoot that empty street from several angles). Also, when shooting a detail, count at least five seconds before removing the camera to another detail.

The material should be about 5 minutes long (90 seconds of your report + frames to cover your story).

After recording everything, send us to Zagreb, preferably via WeTransfer to [email protected]



Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment