October 20, 2019 – Continuing our look at successful returnee stories and experiences from the Croatian diaspora to the homeland, next up Luis Miguel Zuvic on his journey from Venezuela to Split.
1. Born in Venezuela, returned to Croatia, something that many diaspora dream of doing. Tell us briefly about your journey.
I got a scholarship to learn the language, and mostly because of the situation in my country, I decided to take it. After a year in Croatia, I went back to Venezuela, which lasted for just three weeks, and decided to go back to Croatia. I studied for four semesters and got a job in a restaurant in Germany in a small town called Rosenheim. Now I am the chef at Fig restaurant in Split.
2. Looking back, what were your hopes, expectations, and fears about moving to Croatia?
There is not a big Croatian community in Venezuela, but I got a lot of information from families and the Consul of Croatia about the scholarship and life in Croatia.
4. What were the main differences in what you expected to find in Croatia and the reality of living in Croatia?
Everything was as I expected. I read a lot before coming, but it was more impressive to see everything in person than just seeing the pictures.
5. Many diaspora think of returning but few do. In truth, there is little information out there about real-life stories and help/info about the process. What advice do you have for those who are thinking about making the move?
There are different programs and scholarships, and it depends on where you are coming from. The culture is different, but I found that Croatians are similar to South Americans, funny and open people. My advice would be to try and live in Croatia or travel there often to see how you like the Croatian lifestyle.
6. How were you perceived in Split as foreigners/diaspora moving back – was the welcome warm?
The welcome was really warm I would say, and in 8-9 months, I made more friends than the last three years in Germany. For many Croatians, it is amazing that I can speak their language. Almost all together I’ve been here for five years.
7. Through a lot of hard work, you have been very successful, while many foreigners have given up and left Croatia. What are the keys to success in doing business in Croatia, in your opinion?
It was a bit hard at the beginning for me as well. When I had just arrived, I didn’t have my Croatian citizenship, so I couldn’t work at the beginning. It’s just a matter of patience with the Croatian bureaucracy
8. What is the diaspora community like in Split and how integrated is it with locals?
There are a lot of Latinos in Split and Zagreb, who have been living in Croatia. There are a lot of local people who want to learn a different language and culture, and are willing to speak and learn Spanish, for example.
For more on the Croatian diaspora, check out the TCN dedicated section.
Are you a returnee who has moved back to Croatia and would like to be featured in this series? Please contact us on [email protected]