By Iva Ralica
In our feature ‘Foreigners who made Croatia home’ – we meet people who have decided to move and make a new life in Croatia.
We find out why they came and stayed, what they enjoy about their ‘new’ home, how they getting on with the language, and what tips they have for those contemplating a move.
Today we are meet 27-year-old Chapuis Guela from the Ivory Coast who has been living in the Croatian capital Zagreb for the last 10 years.
So what brought you to Croatia, Chapius?
Football brought me to Croatia, I came here through Dinamo Zagreb where my brother was already playing so actually Dinamo brought me to Croatia.
What was the most difficult thing about the shift?
Hmm… I don’t think there were difficult things about the shift. I was happy to come because my brother was already here and to know I’m coming to the country of Davor Šuker, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinečki and the ex coach of the Croatia National Team Ćiro Blažević, was a big thing for me because they were the players I was only watching on TV.
What is the main difference between Croatia and the Ivory Coast?
I appreciate the stability in Croatia. Most of the things are under control.
How do you make your living here?
I work now.
What are your 3 favourite things about Zagreb?
1. I love the city.
2. It’s small, especially compared to where I have been.
3. It’s nice because you can do many things without have to travel a long distance.
And 3 things you would like to change about Zagreb?
Oh the things I would like to change! I don’t have that power, but it’s very hot here during the summer and it makes me stay at home until the sun goes a bit down . Also, if I could somehow simplify the Croatian language that would be fine.
Favourite Croatian food?
Favourite place to eat?
Favourite place outside of Zagreb to visit in Croatia?
I would like to visit Split and Dubrovnik.
How well do you speak the language?
I would say that I speak Croatian good.
What is the biggest cultural difference between Croatia and the Ivory Coast?
The difference is that in Croatia people are more connected to tradition. In my country only villagers are connected to the tradition and people from the city are out of it, here in Croatia even people from the city follow the tradition.
They are connected and it seems like Croatia is a closed circle in which you’ll always feel like a stranger if you are not born here.
Do you see yourself staying here?
Yeah, I could end up staying, but I don’t like to plan too far ahead.
What is your advice for someone coming and staying in Croatia?
Learn the language if you are really planing to come – things can be easier. I can’t say „don’t expect much“ because in life each one has his chance. You can succeed where I failed and I can succed where you failed so that’s life… For me the luck factor is the biggest thing.
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