With many young people emigrating from Croatia, what keeps those who decided to stay (at least for now)?
The emigration of young people from Croatia in search of better business opportunities and living standards, unfortunately, is a well-known story. Each of us young people in Croatia knows at least a few people from their environment who, at one point, said that enough was enough and decided to seek happiness somewhere abroad.
According to official Eurostat data, from 2015 to 2019, Croatia’s population decreased by 4.26 inhabitants per 1,000 citizens only thanks to emigration. Therefore, the Croatian emigration rate is the second-worst in the European Union (after Lithuania).
These data indicate that economic prosperity influences population decisions to emigrate. Besides, due to the exodus of the young and working population, there is an additional reduction in GDP per capita that closes the cycle of poverty and decline in Croatia.
However, there are many who are aware of the poor position of young people in Croatia, but still do not want to give up and decide to stay in Croatia. We’re wondering what do those young people, recent graduates, think about this whole situation and what are their reasons for staying in Croatia.
We continue our series with Mislav from Vinkovci in eastern Croatia.
First of all, please introduce yourself. What are you studying/what did you study? Do you currently have a job?
My name is Mislav, and I live in Zagreb, where I graduated in Software Engineering from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing. I’m from Vinkovci, and as you can see in the photo, I love cycling.
Currently, I am working as a software engineer for a software agency in Zagreb.
What is it like being a student/recent graduate in Croatia during this coronavirus time?
From when this all started, not much has changed for me – except for my working place. As a software engineer, I am used to working remotely. Coronavirus only made me work remotely more often, which means filling my room with monitors and extra comfortable chairs.
What are your experiences searching for a job in your profession in Croatia?
I started with my job hunt four years ago – as a student. My faculty organizes various job fairs, so I had the opportunity to learn about my potential working places during my college years. What I had to do was pick the ones which I found most interesting and convince them that I was the person they needed.
What do you think of the Croatian Government’s efforts to provide opportunities for graduates?
I think that students should be more educated about self-employment. During my college years, I met so many capable people who can do great things. What is needed to be done is to encourage them, teach them their rights, show them ways to become independent, so they can start doing business on their own.
Many young people your age decide to emigrate from Croatia to find a better job opportunity and/or life standard. What do you think about it?
Everyone has their priorities. I understand the ones who seek better living standards or found better offers. There are many things that they are sacrificing or giving up, including living in your hometown and being close to your friends and family, which can be really, really hard. On the other hand, they avoid being frustrated about some common things in Croatia, which you will never come across somewhere else.
In your opinion, what would encourage young people to stay in Croatia?
Better political order, more legal business, fairer employment, and fairer wages.
Have you ever considered leaving Croatia?
No, I have not.
As a recent graduate, what is your impression of the education system in Croatia? What do you think is good about it and what could improve?
What we need to do better is teach children about their possibilities and what they can become while they are at a younger age. Also, we need to introduce more practical work in schools and faculties.
Based on your own experience, would you say that everything is possible in Croatia if you work hard, work on yourself, are educated and ambitious?
The answer I am giving to this question does not depend on any particular country. I met many hard-working and diligent people who struggle with their careers because of the current situation. I would say that in the end, it all depends on how well you adapt to a particular situation and how many times you fall before you finally succeed.
As a young Croatian, what are you most proud of in Croatia?
When foreign people ask me about my country, I cannot resist telling them everything about our beautiful coast, islands, and clear water. After telling them about our cities’ great culture, I must end with describing our people who are always cheerful, no matter what.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of Croatia, and will it be a better or worse place for your children?
As an eternal optimist, I will always believe in bright times. I will always hope that young people will welcome positive change in their lives, and I will always be the first one willing to stand up and work for a brighter future.
Are you a student or recent graduate who would like to contribute your voice and experiences to this series? If yes, please contact [email protected] with the subject “Graduate.”
To read more from the Croatian Graduate Perspective series, follow TCN’s dedicated page.