Croats Living in Croatia, Earning Abroad: Martina Lucic from Svirce, Hvar

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Croatia, great for a 2-week holiday, but a nightmare for full-time living unless you are very rich, so the perceived wisdom goes. The Croatian dream is to live in Croatia with a nice income from abroad, as many foreigners and remote workers do. For Croatians, if I read the comments in my recent video, Croatia is the Best Place to Live: 8 Reasons Why (see below), salaries are too low and people are forced to emigrate in search of a better life.

While there is definitely an element of truth to this, it got me thinking. The era of remote work is here, and the workplace is increasingly global, with a labour shortage for many skills. It doesn’t matter if you are from Boston or Bangladesh if you have the skills, desire, and work ethic, and are able to work remotely online.  And while it is certainly true that salaries in Croatia are low, what about the opportunities that the global online marketplace offers? If foreigners can find ways to live in Paradise and work remotely, why not locals? Curious, I posted this on my Facebook and LinkedIn yesterday:

Do I know many Croats who are living in Croatia, but working remotely for international companies who would be interested in being part of a TCN interview series showcasing living in Croatia but earning online, including advice to others on how to get started? It could be an interesting series. If interested, contact me on [email protected] Subject Remote Croatia.

Some 15 emails – and several inspiring stories – later, and I think we have the makings of what could be a rather interesting series, Croats Living in Croatia & Earning Abroad. Next up in the series, Martina Lucic in the village of Svirce on the island of Hvar. 


My name is Martina and I come from a small village called Svirče, located on Hvar island. I left Svirče when I was 18 and went to Zadar where I spent almost 9 years. I got my M.A. in French and German Language and Literature at the University of Zadar in 2012. In the meantime, I started my PhD in Humanities at the same university and I am in my final year. In May 2015 I got a job at Amazon in Bratislava, Slovakia where I stayed until March 2022. After getting hired at a UK company called Brainlabs as a PPC Consultant (Digital Marketing) and getting a remote contract, I came back and now I am one happy remote employee.

Many Croats are emigrating but you not only chose to stay, but managed to achieve the Croatian dream – living here and working for an international company. Tell us how you did it.

It was inevitable as I could not find permanent employment in Croatia after I finished my M.A. studies. I speak a couple of languages and I could find a job in tourism, but I wanted a steady salary and a normal work-life balance. I have a huge experience in tourism as I started working in the summers when I was 15 but I could not imagine doing that my whole life. Customer service at Amazon was horrible but I was doing some extra activities like training new hires so I got to do some travelling – I spent a week in Regensburg, a week in Berlin, three weeks in Bangalore, India, and I had so much fun as a trainer. After my department got shut down in Bratislava, I got a position at Amazon Ads. I did not know anything about it but I spoke German fluently. So my ex-boss hired me, taught me everything and I realised that I loved that job. But I was not happy in Slovakia and I felt like it was time to go home. I missed my family, pets, island, sea, and climate so when I got an offer from Brainlabs, I accepted it. They contacted me through LinkedIn. My main condition was a remote contract and they allowed it so here I am.


Looking for jobs upon graduation can be a challenging task. How challenging was it for you to get where you are today – it must have taken a lot of determination and rejection. 

Oh yes – I remember sending tons of emails with my CV attached and asking for a chance to prove myself and then getting no response. It was really hard as you need to pay for the flat, utilities, food. I could only dream about buying new clothes, make-up, travelling. As I said, leaving Croatia was inevitable for me.

If you can do it, presumably others can too. Are you aware of others who have had similar success, but maybe in different industries?

Of course – I have met many people while living abroad. Some of them came back and started families, some went to other countries and are not planning to come home before retirement. 

Everyone can do it, but one needs to be prepared for a struggle, failing, sacrifices. It is not easy, but it is worth it when you take a look at the bigger picture. Eyes on the prize and keep going.


What is the general feeling among young people in Croatia today: Is it possible to have a good life here, or is the grass greener on the other side? 

Everything is so expensive nowadays and our salaries are not sufficient so it can be very challenging. This is a beautiful country and it has huge potential but we depend too much on tourism. The grass is not greener on the other side. It is nice to go abroad for a few years, gain some experiences, meet new people, but only if you can learn skills that will help you have a good life here in the future.

Apart from corruption and nepotism, low wages are often cited as a reason to emigrate. But with the remote work revolution, as your example has shown, as well as the influx of many foreign workers to the likes of Rimac and Infobip for example, show that a good quality of life IS possible in Croatia. What are your thoughts on that?

Absolutely. We need to let foreign companies open their offices here, government could perhaps reduce taxes for them and let them hire our people. I do not think that any young person would leave Croatia if they would have the possibility to grow professionally and earn a salary for a decent life here.


What advice do you have for others who would like to stay in Croatia, but have no idea where or how to find a possible remote work job or business as you have managed to do?

Never stop learning and gaining new skills,  grow your LinkedIn network, and have realistic expectations. Once you land a job, work hard to prove your worth and your employer’s trust. In the meantime, while waiting for a chance, do not sit on the couch and just wait. That is the worst thing you can do. While waiting for your dream job, you can work in customer service, shops, gas station, etc. You’ll always learn something new, earn some money, meet new people, and you never know what that experience can bring you. Croatia has a 15 days notice period so you can always leave but also do not change your job too often.

Three reasons you decided to stay in Croatia, and the one thing you would like to change in this country.

Reasons to stay:

1. My family and my friends;

2. Enjoying mild climate in Dalmatia;

3. Possibility to speak Croatian after work;

One thing to change:

1. Too low wages and lack of possibilities to grow professionally


Thanks Martina, very inspiring, and congratulations on all your success.

You can follow the rest of this series in the dedicated TCN section here.

If you would like to contribute your story to this series, please contact [email protected] Subject Remote Croatia.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning – Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.



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