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From Korčula to Sydney: How studying abroad helped me land a job

by Angela Madjer, a Chicago Gal & an RIT Croatia graduate

Kristina Sardelić was born in Sydney, Australia in 1996. At the age of 3, her family decided to move back to Korčula, Croatia where her father, his family, as well as her mother’s family, are from. Growing up in Croatia, she always had a feeling that she would one day make the trip back to where her roots are from if not just to visit family, but to try to start a life for herself like her family once did. 

Kristina was born in Australia, but has spent her whole life in Croatia. She is particularly fond of the island of Korčula, where she was raised and where her family is from

Making a bitter-sweet decision to move a great distance away from home

Shortly after she graduated from RIT Croatia in the summer of 2018, she made the exciting but tough decision to give Sydney, Australia a try and see what the metropolis has to offer. Kristina studied International Business at the RIT Croatia Zagreb campus where she developed an interest in Human Resources management and wanted to develop her career in that direction.

An opportunity in Sydney was just what she was looking for. After making her decision to give the Land Down Under a try, she got a job in her desired field, human resources, at GroupM, a media company located in Sydney.  Her curiosity and ambitious drive are what lead her to making such a big move but there are always times when she misses the country she spent growing up in and her family and friends. Nevertheless, having such a great support system from her family in Australia, she settled in quick.

After graduating from RIT Croatia, Kristina decided to develop her career and start her life in Sydney, Australia

ACompleting internships and partaking in study abroad programs may be a deciding factor when applying to jobs

When we talked about the interview process she went through in Sydney and attributes that might have landed her the job, she said that the experience she has gained up to this point through internships and studying abroad at RIT Croatia played a very important role. Career-oriented education is what RIT is known for globally, so having cooperative education of 800-1200 hours in the field of one’s study is mandatory for all RIT Croatia students. Kristina completed her mandatory internships at a hotel on Korčula and at The Standard High Line Hotel in New York City, USA. 

Kristina spent an entire summer working on Manhattan in the HR department of the Standard High Line Hotel

Since RIT Croatia is a global campus of RIT, its students have an opportunity to spend a semester or two on RIT’s campuses in Rochester and Dubai. Kristina went to USA and says that the semester-long study abroad program in Rochester, New York through RIT Croatia was also a big factor in getting the job she wanted. Experiencing different environments and being able to take on any challenge that she is faced with is something that is very appealing for employers worldwide.

Kristina studying abroad at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY

Another attribute she believes helped her greatly throughout the job hunting process was all the skills that she received through her four years at RIT Croatia. She was mainly thankful for the countless amount of presentations that she gave during her time at RIT Croatia and how today, she can without a doubt present a confident presentation in front of her colleagues. Not only that, but the knowledge she gained and her perfecting her English language skill because of the English-only policy on campus were big factors on how she found a suitable job for herself.

Throughout her 4-years of study Kristina gained quality knowledge in international business and developed soft skills that the employers are seeking for

And now – the sky’s the limit

Kristina’s very pleased with her current position at GroupM and is learning a lot alongside professionals in the field of media and human resources. She is also enjoying her Australian lifestyle and spending time with family and friends, including the ones that are a part of the Croatian community in Sydney. And when it comes to family and friends in Croatia, keeping in touch with them (thanks to the amazing technology we all have access to and despite the 10-hour time difference!), helps in relieving the homesick feeling.

Greetings from Australia


RIT Croatia (formerly known as ACMT) is a global campus of a prominent US university Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT Croatia has been delivering top American degree programs in Croatia since 1997. With its two campuses, in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, this is the only US college in the country and it is the only institution for higher education granting two diplomas to its students – an American diploma, awarded by RIT, and a Croatian diploma, awarded by RIT Croatia. RIT Croatia has prepared over 2,000 young people for their (global) careers. Today, they work in over 40 countries in the world – from the EU countries to Australia and the US. International students come from all over the world but most of them come from the US. Some come from the main campus in Rochester, but a lot of Americans come from Croatian Diaspora communities in cities such as San Jose, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York, Toronto, Mississauga, Cleveland, and many more. For more information, contact [email protected]

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