The Grass is Always Greener? Split Woman Returns to Croatia from Ireland, Explains Why

Lauren Simmonds

With endless stories about people packing up and leaving Croatia behind for more economically promising climes, just how green is the grass on the other side?

The media is full of depressing tales of people leaving the country in their droves, seeking better wages, better lives, more opportunities and less corruption elsewhere. Many Croats have readily taken advantage of the wealth of opportunities that Croatia being a member of the EU provides them. 

Open doors to the labour markets of the majority of European Union member states, access of some kind to their respective social security and health benefits, and a plethora of employment opportunities offering good pay are unsurprisingly all too tempting for most, and naturally so. 

Croatia has entered into a rather alarming demographic crisis, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović recently and quite controversially blamed the European Union’s freedom of movement policy, which is one of the four principles of membership of the single market.

While her statement was unhelpful in regard to making economic conditions in Croatia better to encourage people to stay here to say the least, especially from someone in such a positon as the one she holds, the free movement of citizens of the EU/EEA has indeed seen populations deplete in certain countries, while other ”richer” European countries have, at least according to some very toxic media, bore the brunt of it.

Bulgaria is one example of this, and the United Kingdom’s native population was spun lie after lie about the arrival of more Bulgarians than actually even exist in Bulgaria itself arriving on British shores by the deluded and intellectually challenged political party, UKIP.

Northwestern European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and some Nordic and Scandinavian nations are naturally desirable targets for those seeking more stability, and Ireland has been among the most popular. But, is the grass really all that green on the other side, or does it just appear that way because you haven’t walked all over it yet? As someone who made the reverse journey, from the UK to Croatia several years ago, I can quite safely say it’s the latter.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of June, 2018, one woman from the Dalmatian capital of Split who decided to head to the emerald isle has made a return to Croatia, and she was keen to explain just why she did so.

Living in Ireland for three years, Stela Grljušić (33) worked as an au pair taking care of the kids for an Irish family, all while attending a fitness institute. She returned to Croatia after having been dismissed from her position in court.

Although Stela graduated from law school, she now works as a personal trainer for which she was educated in Ireland after leaving Croatia back in February 2015.

”The dismissal in court preceded a year and six months of work, where I realised that I was waiting every day for a break and after a break, I was waiting for the end of the working day. I waited every day for Friday, and not one Sunday did I spend waiting for Monday. Then I realised that I just had to change something and that I didn’t want to spend my like that,” Stela told Slobodna Dalmacija.

After three years of life in on the emerald isle, the 33-year-old has decided to return to Croatia.

”In Croatia, I was trying to be a graduate lawyer, not a personal trainer. The rain had become all the more unbearable, and the sunny photos I was being sent by my mum, my sister and my friends really spoke more than 1000 words, so I just said one morning, to hell with it all, I’m going to be a personal home trainer,” she said. She isn’t even thinking about her return to Ireland because she’s happy with the job she’s now doing.

”I met a few Croats out there. Their impressions are generally good, the Irish standard is better than ours and the Croats there are “breathing” without loans and debts, so theyre less grumpy, politics and money aren’t the main topic. They all go on holiday to Croatia and hope for better tomorrow to return to their country. Only very few of them want to stay and grow old there [in Ireland].”

“It’s not difficult to succeed out there if you’re disciplined, persistent, and very worthy [of it]. The Irish value hard work and there’s no chance that you won’t be rewarded for it. But I also have to point out that if your colleagues are Irish, and not the other newcomers [from abroad], as much as they go on about non-discrimination and equal conditions… in reality, this doesn’t work. You have a chance and that will only be given to you after an Irish person before you goes and takes a better position,” warns the Split returnee.


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