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Studying in Croatia has impacted my professional journey

By Angela Madjer, Croatian gal from Chicago and RIT Croatia Alumna (Class of 2018)

A strong alumni community is important not only for current students that are looking for advice and guidance, but also for other graduates working in a diverse range of industries to help one another out. When it comes to RIT Croatia, a global campus of a prominent US university, Rochester Institute of Technology, there are currently over 2,000 alumni around the world, working hard in a variety of different industries.  

Studying, living and enjoying what Croatia has to offer 

We caught up with 3 alumni from RIT Croatia that are a part of the Croatian diaspora community to learn about their experience of living in Croatia and studying at an American college. Croatian roots, an RIT Croatia degree and a bright and successful professional journey ahead of them is exactly what these three alumni have in common. They all came to Croatia to pursue their studies and made the best out of their four years as an RIT Tiger. Being raised in a Croatian cultural atmosphere, whether it be attending Croatian school on Sundays or being a part of a folklore group, these are just a few things that resemble their strong passion for the Croatian culture. 

“My advice to current students is to enjoy the ride and be involved. This way you will get as much as you can out of your time as a student. Once you graduate, make sure to stay connected with your colleagues – you never know you will end up working with or who may recommend you your dream job. Good luck!” 

Kristina was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and lived in the U.S. until 2001, when her family made the decision to move back to where their roots are from, Croatia. She pursued her undergraduate degree in hospitality at RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik and moved to Chicago, USA when she was 24. Kristina said that the co-op program that the university makes a requirement for every student to complete, was the most influential part of her learning experience.

RIT Croatia makes sure that it prepares its students as much as possible to make sure that when they graduate, they are ready to spread their wings and assimilate quickly into the professional industry of their choosing. The hands-on experience of working in the hotel industry prior to graduating taught her common practices that she uses today at Virgin Hotels Chicago.

For Kristina, the security and safeness that she felt while studying in Dubrovnik was a big deciding factor as well. Moving to a foreign country may be scary, but knowing that you are safe and can be comfortable walking to and from class as well as enjoying what the city has to offer is a great benefit.  Another reason why she recommends studying in Croatia is because of its affordable lifestyle that makes it easy for college students to afford when in comparison to the United States and other European universities. 

“My advice to current students is to take in as much as you can. You will be surprised what things you will need later in your career that you thought were unimportant at that time. My advice to recent graduates is to never stop learning. Read the news and be aware of what is going on in your industry!“

Andriana, Kristina’s sister, also lived in Chicago, USA until 2001 and says that she really did have the best of both worlds, growing up in the US but spending her teenage years in Croatia. She decided to attend RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik to work hard towards receiving an American diploma and to make sure that wherever life may lead her, she has the adequate experience and education to succeed, whether it be in Croatia or abroad. Andriana has created a successful professional career at Gulliver Travel as an Account Manager for Hotelbeds. The greatest reward for Andriana in the hospitality industry is that she enjoys working with people and showing them what all the beautiful things that Croatia has to offer.

“My advice for current students and students interested in studying in Croatia is to enjoy every second of your educational journey. The time will go faster than you could ever imagine. Take every opportunity that RIT Croatia and Zagreb offers you, you never know where they could lead you next!” 

For Andrea Coza, the Croatian culture has had a big part in her life since she was born. Her father was born in Croatia and her mother’s parents  are  also from Croatia. Even growing up in New York, she attended Croatian mass on Sundays, Croatian language classes and was a part of a folklore group. Having such a strong tie to Croatia and knowing that the opportunity to study in Croatia to complete her undergraduate degree was available, she believed that it was a great opportunity to get to know her family heritage and enjoy this journey in a beautiful country in Europe. 

Whether you study in Zagreb or Dubrovnik, the thought of studying in such beautiful cities and appreciating the history behind them is truly a great opportunity that RIT Croatia provides it students with. The opportunity to travel not only throughout the country and get the chance to appreciate your family history, but also the opportunity to travel throughout Europe is what Andrea said was what really made her four years at RIT Croatia quite special. She mentioned that traveling to near and far cities throughout Europe and the simplicity of traveling allowed her to appreciate a wide range of diveristy throughout different cultures. 

About RIT Croatia 

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, but also exotic locations such as Curacao. 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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