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 meet 26-year-old Daniel Rodríguez Kargacin, who moved to Zagreb from Venezuela.
How long have you been in Zagreb?
I’ve been living in Zagreb for 2 years now.
What brought you to Croatia?
I came to Croatia due to the difficult situation that Venezuela is passing through; lack of security, freedom of speech, medicines, food… and a serious economic crisis.
What was the most difficult thing about the shift?
The most difficult thing about the shift was trying to figure out how I was going to start from 0 in a country that I only knew from the things that my grandfather told me and some books I had read.
Main difference between Croatia and Venezuela?
Safety it’s the biggest difference between both countries, without a doubt.
How do you make your living here?
The first year in Croatia I worked for Jabuka TV as camera man, and for Nova TV as a robotic camera operator. And this last year I worked as a freelance journalist for a TV program called Kiosk.
3 favourite things about Zagreb?
1) It’s a small city, you can get everywhere without rushing.
2) You can appreciate a thousand years of History in their streets, buildings, parks and squares.
3) I like the fact that I am able to walk at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. without concerning if someone is following me.
3 things you would like to change about Zagreb?
1) This is out of my reach but,… the heat in summer, I just can’t stand it.
2) More trees in the city, so they might help during summer time.
3) Too many graffiti, I can’t understand why people don’t just visually contaminate their own room and then post it on Facebook, why do we all have to suffer their lack of artistic taste and talent?
Favourite Croatian food?
I like sarma and čobanac.
I don’t drink much, but I like to have 2 or 3 shots of šljivovica a year.
I’m not a “bar guy”, the only one I remember is Tomato, the rest are just places where I’ve been sporadically, but no names come to my mind… just other bars.
Favourite place to chill out?
A place to chill out, Sljeme or any place to practice martial arts (weird but true).
Favourite place outside of Zagreb to visit in Croatia?
I liked Rovinj and Motovun a lot.
How well do you speak the language?
With the language I have to say that after two years I’m starting to dig it, now I understand a lot more and I can survive speaking with my Croatian Tarzan’s style.
The biggest cultural difference between Croatia and your home country?
Maybe because Venezuela received many immigrants during the 20th century, the people are (as I see it) more opened to different and new things (especially food). Croats, on the other hand, are a bit more reserved to the traditional.
What makes you homesick?
Difficult question, I can say that I miss the country that Venezuela was until 10 years ago, maybe a bit more… and that might be the reason why I didn’t have the so called “home sickness”, of course I miss my family and friends, but everyday things down there are continually changing. And even if I decide to return tomorrow to Venezuela, I would still be missing something.
Do you see yourself staying here?
Today I see myself staying here, I have no plans to go, but tomorrow is a mystery that I’m still trying to figure out.
Advice for someone coming and staying in Croatia?
My advice is that the first word to learn in Croatian is “DA”. Sometimes you will find some negativity about many things, some with base, some without it. But that’s the last thing you need if you are going to start a living in a new country… oh yes! And always be prepared to think outside the box, you will find it very useful.