Moving Back to the Homeland: Katherine Kurelja, from Boston to Croatia

Total Croatia News


September 23, 2019 – More and more Croatians in the diaspora are considering moving back to the homeland. Meet one who is about to take the plunge, Katherine Kurelja.

  1. You live in Boston, have Croatian roots and plan to move to Zagreb. Explain!

It’s simple. The pros and cons of life in Croatia have won out over the pros and cons of American life. For us that means switching from consumer culture to family culture. And it’s certainly not a competition, but I’ll take your news headlines over ours any day.


       2. Why now?

Croatia is at an inflection point. I feel the energy every time I go. While some may think Croatia isn’t heading in the right direction, I have met many talented entrepreneurs in Croatia like Hrvoje Kapetanovic, CEO of Undabot and seen what firms like EY are doing to support them that prove otherwise. Their determination is what I want to support at this point in my career. I am truly inspired by the talent in Croatia and the world should know more about what Croatia can offer. More on that below.

And to touch on the emotional side since part of being Croatian is of course being passionate and often via music, there is a song from our Irish friends up north, Mumford & Sons, that sums it up nicely:

“Well I know I had it all on the line
But don’t just sit with folded hands and become blind
‘Cause even when there is no star in sight
You’ll always be my only guiding light”

Only in Croatia there are many stars in sight.


  1. Moving with the family is a big step. Tell us about the family and what are your greatest fears?

My husband was born in Croatia, left in his mid-20s and has always wanted to go back. When he first met me, he asked if I’d ever want to live in Croatia and my reaction was pretty much “um, nooooo” and now that we have a 5 year old daughter and I see what our lives are like as a family in the US, I am the one who, one summer morning last year (pre World Cup even, so you know I meant business) said “Let’s do it!” Priorities have a way of changing in life.

Fears mainly relate to dealing with my American-ness and reminding myself that some of the things that bug me about Croatia are exactly what make it so special and unique too. So basically, not getting annoyed when people tell me to eat or to dry my hair all the way!


  1. What about work? Do you have anything lined up?

Given my brand and marketing experience and expertise, I’ll be starting my own agency focused on helping businesses and individuals position themselves to expand outside of Croatia. Related to this, ask me about my idea to put Croatia on the map for its incredible tech talent and capabilities.

  1. How easy is it to find practical information about relocating, and what sort of support resources are available?

It can be a bit of a maze, but expat groups on Facebook as well as blogs make it relatively easy to get info on the practical side of relocating. Certain details are always elusive, like shipping recommendations, but overall I’ve found communities via social media ready to help. I look forward to meeting you, cool expat & diaspora returnee community! Family in Croatia is of course another great resource. Veze remember?


  1. What do your friends and family think of your decision to move to Croatia? 

What you’d expect. Family here has mixed feelings given we’ll be further away, but we are hoping to lure them back to the homeland. Friends think it’s an incredible idea and completely supportive. I think many visualize us on the beach, but they do get it. And finally, family in Croatia is quite thrilled. Unlike what I hear from others is they don’t ask “Why are we moving?” they just ask “When?”. Good thing too as we love to socialize over gemist and family meals! Free babysitting doesn’t hurt either.


  1. What are the things you are most looking forward to?

Doing something impactful to help Croatia grow in whatever way we can – big or small, economically or mentally – whatever the community needs. Providing our daughter freedom and independence that is sadly elusive in most of the US these days. And watching more soccer matches in person – Idemo! All of this boils down to a single thread and why we are coming – Croatia is a team and it’s time for my family to get off the bench!

To connect with Katherine [email protected]

Are you a returnee who wants to share your experience? Contact us on [email protected]

For the latest from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.  


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment