From Los Angeles to Split, How One Foreigner Fell in Love with Croatia’s Coffee Breaks

Daniela Rogulj

It’s no surprise that more and more young people are leaving Croatia in search of a better life, while on the other hand, more and more foreigners are coming to live in Croatia. Today, we bring you the story of one foreigner who left the ‘American dream’ to live in Split, reports Novi List on April 22, 2019. 

How did a 30-year-old who studied and worked in Los Angeles decide to work and live in Croatia, and precisely Split? How do foreigners increasingly choose Croatia as a place to live in the middle of the great wave of youth emigration to Ireland and other countries around the world?

Meet Balki, born in India who left to study and work in Los Angeles. In the ‘City of Angels’, he worked in the IT sector in the video game industry and wore the title of a Games User Experience Researcher and Technical Analyst. Despite a good job in Los Angeles, four years ago, Balki decided to make a significant change in his life and move to Split. However, he did not plan on staying in Split long, but only for a short time before returning to America.

Balki had heard about Croatia and its history. He knew Croatia was a developing country. And he saw it as a personal challenge after which he would return to America.

However, while working in Los Angeles., an opportunity from Balki’s company opened to work at a branch in Split. Balki, determined and open to new ideas, wanted to take advantage of the offer and experience what it was like to live somewhere in Europe. After scrolling through pictures of the Dalmatian capital and making several video calls with the employees in Split, Balki decided to give Split a chance.

“I have to admit, my first reason for coming to Split was more logistic, it was easier to get a work permit in Croatia,” Balki said honestly.

But as the conversation continued, Balki spoke about the people he met who became friends for life. Balki quickly accepted the way of life in Croatia and how day-to-day living is far more enjoyable than in Los Angeles. Furthermore, Balki found a new job in Split and is employed by the international IT company Typeqast. Balki said he is delighted to work with clients from all over the world and with his talented colleagues.

“Although L.A. is a city full of fun, Split has something that calls you to stay, and it has become more difficult to think about returning to L.A.”

This successful 30-year-old lived on the coast of Chennai, where he grew up before moving to L.A. and Split where he lives today. 

“I love life on the coast and everywhere is beautiful, but I have to admit that no one likes their coast and sea as much as the Dalmatians do. Every day I am thrilled with the beauty of the Croatian coast.

As far as work differences are concerned, I can say that in the companies I’ve worked for so far, everything runs at a high level and it is not too different from America. It’s great to work in international companies because there are no language barriers for working with foreign clients and all communication takes place in English, so it’s not important whether you live in Croatia or anywhere in America. But one everyday thing I was surprised and thrilled about was the ‘coffee break’. Although it sounds like a waste of time, Croatians actually use them very wisely, and because of them, you can be more efficient at work. It’s fascinating. At the moment I am so pleased with my job and the support we have from the leadership of the firm that I no longer think about when I will return to L.A.”

How is the emigration of young people from Croatia seen by someone who came from L.A.?

“I think in most cases the emigration of the youth has almost become a normal thing and young people are trying to test their limits. This ‘brain drain’ is more seen as a result of youthful curiosity than bad conditions in the state. On the other hand, there is, of course, a state that in my opinion does not give enough support to young people.”

While a good job and working conditions are essential to the quality of life, those who work in Croatia also have its natural beauty, pleasant climate and at any moment someone, someone to drink coffee with. Balki is yet another example of a foreigner who came for work and stayed for the Croatian way of life. 

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