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More and more Croatians returning home from Ireland 

More and more Croatians returning home from Ireland 

Dublin, where a lot of Croatians moved to in the last decade

After a wave of emigration from eastern Croatia to Ireland and Germany, more and more Croatians are returning home to Slavonia.

“The number of returnees is relatively small. These are mainly people who are overqualified for the jobs they do abroad. There are also those success stories, so people learn something, earn some money and come back here,” associate professor. Ph.D. Željko Pavić, from the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek, told HRT.

Branko Grozdanić, from Osijek, went to Ireland 20 years ago and returned 10 years ago, at the time of the first big wave of emigration. He worked in restaurants and became a chef and is now opening his own restaurant soon.

“I learned languages, I learned a lot of other recipes and I think now is the time to apply it here, in our area,” Branko said to HRT. 

All those returnees who HRT spoke to agree on one thing: when it comes to work culture, Croatia cannot compete with the West.

“Attitude towards the worker, progress in work, I think that is the most important. You can start as a kitchen porter today and end up as a manager in two years. It’s simple, and they appreciate the work – emphasises Igor Vukadinović, also from Osijek.

Zen Špehar went to Ireland primarily because of love. But after half a year, the love for both the girl and Ireland broke. He had a hard time coming to terms with cultural differences and the bad weather.

“The start there is quite difficult, primarily because of real estate, rents are expensive. Your first job probably won’t bring you a fabulous salary,” he said.

Research shows that Croatian emigrants, in the vast majority of cases, do not intend to return to the homeland. Those who do not rule it out, want it if a number of conditions are met. Everyone has to weigh what is more important to them in life, Igor says. 

“We live in a perfect position. In terms of weather, food, quality of life, in everything,” he emphasizes. Those who strive for stability, a slower and more relaxed lifestyle, which largely does not involve money, think more about giving back. It will only partially mitigate the great damage done to Croatia by the loss of its youth.”

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