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 Dominika, who recently moved to Zagreb from Poland.
How long have you been based in Croatia?
I actually moved to Zagreb five months ago, but I also had opportunity to spend most of the last summer on the coast of this Mediterranean pearl. It was amazing time and to be honest, from the beginning I was sure that Croatia is perfect place for me.
What made you move to Croatia?
My other half. I changed my country for the one that is ten times less in size, but at least as equally big in heart-warming people and everyday opportunities. The other option was to move to Poland but we decided to stay here.
What was the most difficult thing about the shift?
I didn’t feel much difficulties with the shift. I’m a person who loves challenges so I easily adjusted to new environment. Of course, the fact that both are Slavic countries and we have quite similar culture and heritage also helped quite a lot.
What are the main differences between Croatia and Poland?
For me it wasn’t some drastic change. Like I said, Poland and Croatia are both Slavic countries so both nations possess quite similar mentality.
What do you do for a living?
I have my own international company – Sukcess Consulting – which helps various businesses develop and grow on local and global market. Thanks to my experience and knowledge, I share with people the most effective tools and solutions to succeed in today’s dynamic business world.
3 favourite things about Zagreb?
Zagreb is lively city and by that a perfect place for me, because I hate routine and stagnation. The city offers many opportunities to go outside and have a great time, and one of the favourite among them for me is wine tasting events. I believe everyone can pick something for themselves from a quite wide portfolio of entertainments.
I’m also very active person so here I can easily find good place for jogging like Jarun or Savski Nasip, go hiking, biking or swimming. I was also positively surprised about Advent market which in my opinion is of course the best in Europe. We have nothing similar in Warsaw or Poland in general.
3 things you would like to change about Zagreb?
Nothing besides smoking in a pubs and restaurants. It’s unbelievable for me that people are allowed to smoke in a place where food is served.
Favourite Croatian food?
This is by far the hardest question, because I like so many different things. I just have to emphasize great choice of wonderful fishes, mostly from Adriatic Sea. I also fell in love with Paški sir. Sarma is also very good. Still, the very first pick would probably be hobotnica ispod peke.
Favourite place to eat?
I had amazing time at Trilogija, very special restaurant in the very centre of Zagreb. My family from Poland also loved it. As an enthusiast of sea food and fishes I have to mention “Ribice i tri točkice” – a place which I found not so long time ago. However, I like to explore new places because good and delicious food is for me state of the culinary art and act of pleasure so on my ‘to visit list’ are still many places.
Dežman Bar. Modern, pleasant and cosy place with good wines and professional customer care.
Favourite place to chill out?
Jarun lake or Maksimir, especially with bike, blanket and book.
Favourite place outside Zagreb to visit in Croatia?
Plješevica – amazing place, breath-taking views and small local vineries – there is my small Croatian Tuscany.
How well do you speak the language?
From the beginning, I was motivated to speak Croatian, because first of all I like to learn new things and second of all Croatian for me is very intuitive. I try to speak and practice as much as I can but to be fluent I still need some time.
The biggest cultural difference between Croatia and Poland?
In my opinion many Croatian people want to do something to live better life, have great job, improve their career, but they’re actually not doing anything. Polish people are more dedicated and determined on their way to success.
What makes you homesick?
Maybe my 6-months old niece, she’s the cutest thing and smiling all the time, she’s incredible. Anyway, I’m the happiest here.
Do you see yourself staying here?
Sigurno! This is a great place with a big potential. You just have to be able to recognize it.
What advice would you give those from abroad moving to Croatia?
Croatians are more relaxed and many things just need more time so don’t stress and do your best.