Superb Education at Harfa International School Attracts More Foreigners to Split

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There are many reasons why people fall in love with Split and are attracted to it. Most of those reasons involve great climate and a laid-back life style compared to the western world. But lately we hear more and more people move to Split permanently because of superb education offered at Harfa International School. It’s not a rarity that we hear:

–      We came on holidays, fell in love with Split, and when we learned about a great education offered to our children, we decided to call this city our home. Split is every parent’s dream come true!

We are aware of the perks Dalmatian life style offers, but the growing number of these stories got us more interested and we wanted to hear the parents’ experiences first hand.  We talk to Sarah and Don Miller from Canada who came to Split during the pandemic.  

–      During the first lock-down, we extended what should have been a one-week vacation. Our friends recommended Split and we arrived “unexpectedly”. We fell in love with the climate and culture at first sight, but as the fall approached and our children were about to start school, the biggest unknown for us was the quality of education in Croatia. We were delighted to discover that the Harfa International School was opening that year and the rest is history! Now we can’t imagine life outside of Croatia because we love the combination of the life style and the excellent education our children receive!


The Miller family from Canada in front of the Harfa International School, the reason they stayed in Split  

They are not the only one with such story. The Vellis family from California, USA share a similar experience.

–  – In the summer of 2020, we came to Split for the first time on vacation and never left! We were delighted by the people, the food and the relaxed mentality, which is completely different from that in the West. The fact that life is not just about how many hours you work, but also about the time you spend with your loved ones really made a wonderful impact on us as a family and we decided to raise our children that way too. Of course, life by the sea is what attracted us, but when friends told us about the Harfa International School and after learning more about Harfa’s approach to education, we realized this is exactly what we were looking for our child.


The Vellis family from California, USA.

Returnees from Australia; Dubravka and John Šušnjara give us their share of experience.

–      Our roots are Croatian, but we lived in Australia for many years. We were thinking about returning for some time now because we wanted to provide our children, who were born in Sidney, with a safer and better life style. The pandemic was the trigger to think about the idea of return more seriously, but our children did not speak Croatian and we knew that their education would be a challenge. When we heard about Harfa International School in Split and what kind of education that school offers, we didn’t hesitate for long. The decision was made. The whole family moved to Split. Through school, we met other parents and became friends. Our children grow up in an international environment, speak English but also learn Croatian very quickly. We all enjoy a completely different dimension of life compared to Australia. I especially emphasize the family dimension because now we have much more time to enjoy spending time with family and friends, which is an important issue for us.


The Šušnjara family: An important parto f our decision to return to Split played the existence of Harfa International School.

We are interested to learn the reasons Split is a better choice for families, compared to some other world cities.

– For our family, the climate, people, food and family lifestyle are what won our hearts. We love various outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming in the sea, boating and cycling. In winter, the Christmas fair and ice rinks are fantastic! Our children really love the Christmas lights around the city and of course the fireworks on the waterfront for New Year’s Eve. We also enjoy traveling in Europe because the destinations are much closer compared to Canada. – the Millers tell us.


The quality of family life that we found in Split is priceless.

– Driving in Split is easy compared to California! Also, when we lived near the Pacific Ocean it was always too cold to swim. There is something to do in Croatia all year round, and we also like the availability of so many nearby countries and national parks. – the Vellis explain.

–      Location! Split is the perfect starting point for exploring this beautiful country, but also the perfect place from which to visit Europe and the world. Compared to Australia most destinations are very close with almost all European destinations within a 2-hour flight. Another big advantage is a relaxed lifestyle. Food preparation and socializing are an everyday thing here. Such a thing can hardly be experienced in many western countries. We also like how national sporting events take priority over everything else. We still can’t believe that everything stops in Split when Hajduk or Croatia play. – adds John Šušnjara, obviously a passionate fan himself.


The lifestyle that is commonplace here can hardly be experienced in many western countries.

All of these stories keep coming back to the importance of the quality of education they found for their children right here. We are interested in why the Harfa school attracted them and how that school is different from the many others they could have chosen.

–      Harfa was recommended by many parents we met in Split and right from the start we recognized the right opportunity and place for our child. We are constantly amazed at what this school offers. The diversity of students and programs gives our child many opportunities to learn and grow. We can’t wait to see how the school will continue to expand and develop. We are sure that it will be a place of wonderful and exciting opportunities not only for students but also for parents and teachers in Split. – the Vellis tell us.

–      We chose Harfa because of its unique philosophy and approach to learning, but also due to the vast experience of the school’s founder, Mrs. Irena Orlović, who delighted us at first. We believe in her vision of approaching students as a whole person and supporting them to reach their full emotional and intellectual potential. We are extremely satisfied with the quality of education at Harfa. Our children are making progress and are well adjusted! We are very familiar with many educational systems in the world and that is why we can safely say that Harfa is unique precisely because of the combination of the emotional and social aspects of the child’s development with education based on research, project learning and encouraging internal motivation and taking responsibility. This is also in line with our values. – the Millers explain to us.

–      Dedicated teachers and the most modern teaching methods, with SEL (social-emotional learning) and IB (International Baccalaureate) approaches which are especially important to us. We immediately recognized the goals and methodology and this played a big role in our decision, as well as the wonderful location on where the school is located. Harfa provided us with security and played a key role in the adjustment of not only our children but also the whole family when we first moved to Croatia. The IB learning methods, the location, the employees and the combination of English and Croatian make this school a unique and very cool place to learn.


Dedicated teachers and the most modern teaching methods based on SEL (social-emotional learning) and the prestigious international IB (International Baccalaureate) approach make Harfa the most attractive place for schooling children. 

And how do the children feel going to Harfa International School?

–      Our children are so attached to the school environment and friends that they don’t want to miss a single lesson! They achieve excellent results. We are happy that they can do this in a comfortable and safe environment for them, and most importantly, they have learned to love learning, which we would like to become a lifelong habit. – the Millers add.

–      Our little girl loves her school and teachers very much. She has never shown the slightest bit of hesitation about attending school, which is proof enough for us that this was the best decision we could have made. Her biggest educational improvement is in math and social skills, but most importantly, she shows constant progress in everything. Since she has been in Harfa, she has become a real thinker; she asks more questions, thinks about advice when we offer it and ultimately makes balanced decisions independently. We have always believed that trust in a child’s abilities is the key to healthy growing up, and this is proven to us every day. – concludes John Šušnjara.

–      Every day our child goes to school excited about what is to come and returns home with a list of things he learned and did that day. We are impressed by his knowledge of math, but also his progress in the Croatian language, given that it is not his mother tongue. Now he is teaching us Croatian! – we hear from Bri and John Vellis.


The founder of the Harfa International School is Irena Orlović, MSc. psycho-social counseling, psychotherapist and social entrepreneur who represented Europe in the documentary film FIVE as one of the five women who change the world.

Through Harfa International School, Irena Orlović is a representative of the new generation of social entrepreneurs who are adding extremely important value for the city of Split. A value that serves as a basis of a better future, and that’s education. We are happy with the further progress of this story, which, let’s face it, gives  optimism for a better future.


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