The inaugural Domovina Birth Program begins in Croatia on July 10, 2019. Kristiana Banđen is one of the 34 participants. Her hopes and expectations.
There have been several new initiatives to bring the Croatian diaspora closer to the Homeland in recent times. Conferences such as G2 in Zagreb and the recent diaspora tourism conference in Split are the more public of these, but other grassroots ideas are also taking place, including a unique opportunity to connect young diaspora to Croatia with a once-in-a-lifetime visit.
Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP), working with the Croatian government, has organized a 16-day cultural and educational immersion tour of Croatia called the Domovina Birthright Program Trip. The idea of the program is to take the young adults of Croatian descent (ages 18 – 30), who wish to learn about their heritage, explore Croatia, connect with their Croatian identity and meet other young Croatian adults on an amazing trip to Croatia! Eligible individuals for the trip are those who identify as Croatian and have at least one Croatian birth grandparent. All participants must be between 18 and 30 as of July 1, 2019 and have finished high school by the time their trip departs (meaning they need to be born between July 2, 1988 and July 1, 2001.)
As previously reported, Kristiana Banđen will be on the plane to Croatia to take part in the first Domovina Birthright Program, and she has kindly agreed to document her journey on TCN. With just a few days to go, here is Kristiana on her hopes from the trip. We hope you have an amazing time and look forward to reading about it on TCN.
Only a few more days until I travel to Zagreb and meet up with the rest of the Domovina participants!
!I am feeling lots of emotions, nervousness, excited, energized, and to be honest a bit scared, especially when it comes to PACKING! Although I am a seasoned traveller, having started traveling at the tender age of year old, I still have issues with the whole packing aspect. My main issue is packing light; I feel all girls can relate!
I have been very fortunate to have traveled to Croatia annually throughout my childhood and on my own as an adult, but have never been able to see the country in its depths as the way that the Domovina program entails. So, when I first saw the article about the Domovina Birthright Program on Total Croatia News, I knew right away that I wanted to apply to participate.
Throughout the program, we will be travelling to a new city daily, some cities of which I am very familiar with and have family living there but also new cities I have yet had the chance to visit. The most exciting factor for me going into the program is that I will be experiencing this with young adults my age, some of whom have never travelled to Croatia. One of my hopeful expectations is to be able to leave from this experience having built new lifelong friendships with the participants who are coming from all parts of the world. In addition to all the participants we will also be joined by local young Croatians, a few that will travel with us and others we will meet during the daily excursions in their native cities and towns.It is my goal throughout the duration of the program to really take in all the new cities and sights, and sharing my daily diary with the readers.
My aim is to gain new knowledge of Croatia’s history and take photos of the scenery throughout. I imagine that, as a group, we will be enlightened with our country. Sharing our heritage with others is a blessing to have.
To follow Kristiana’s journey – and more from the Croatian diaspora – check out the dedicated TCN section.