Regular gatherings, exchanging views and experiences, reminiscing about the homeland, a chance to speak their mother tongue. Sounds like most Croatian communities in places like America, Australia or Argentina, but a place this is also happening in, that one would not expect, is in the United Arab Emirates City of Dubai.
More than 500 Croats have now made the oil-rich City of Dubai their home and numbers are on the rise as Croatian daily newspaper Vecernji list reports. The, for now, relatively small Croatian community in Dubai regularly meet and socialise, giving couples like Barbara and Milivoj Vela, who have been living in Dubai for eight years, a chance to pass on advice to fellow Croats.
“Life here is a lot simpler. In Croatia half your pay goes just on food, it is not like that in Dubai. Also facilities are great here, every building has a swimming pool and a gym,” said Barbara, who came with here husband in 2004 from Podgora on the Dalmatian coast. Barbara works at Dubai London Clinic, whilst her husband Milivoj works at Nokia Siemens.
There have been two waves of Croatian migration to Dubai, the first Croats started arriving 15 years ago, but the largest wave begun just two or three years ago.
“A lot of cooks, waiters and stewardesses are now starting to arrive in Dubai from Croatia,” said Barbara.
Another Croatian couple, Marin and Helena Vuletic, both economists who arrived in Dubai just under a year ago, say that the Croatian community in Dubai has been a great help with them settling in.
“When we arrived we expected a shock, but that was not the case. Croatians are a great support, we socialise together and that is important,”said the pair.