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Why I decided to apply to study in Croatia

The moments leading up to becoming an RIT Tiger. What made me decide on applying to RIT Croatia. 

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

Let’s go back to my 2013/2014, my senior year in high school. Being a senior in high school isn’t all fun and games like many Hollywood movies depict it to be. Preparing for your ACT/SAT exam, making sure that you fulfill all of your high school goals before you graduate and still managing to have a good final school year at a place you’ve spent 8 hours a day for the past 4 years, now that’s a lot to handle. Making everything as perfect as possible before you bid farewell and head to a university that you will call your new home! 

One of the biggest decisions that a high school senior student can make in the United States, is deciding which university they’ll attend for the next four years. There are many factors that result in your final decision on where you’ll end up going. All of the following factors shape this “big” decision. These are basic factors that high school students look in when searching for their dream university:

  • Academics – What courses are offered, does the university offer your desired major, etc. 
  • Finances – Is the tuition and other expenses in your budget, what scholarships and opportunities do the university offer for its students, etc. 
  • Comfort & belonging – Do you feel comfortable with your surroundings, are their extra-curricular activities that you could participate in, student life, etc. 

Academics: The co-op program, structure and curriculum 

Although finding a university with a pristine curriculum was on the top of my list of priorities, I was also thinking about what could I do throughout the next four years to prepare myself for what waits after. When I was researching the courses and overall curriculum that is provided at RIT Croatia, I came across their co-op program. This program makes it mandatory for all students to complete 2 internships, a total length of 800 hours, to graduate. At first, hearing that previous sentence made me think about how much work that will really be. This mandatory program prepared me for entering the workforce once I graduated and I can without a doubt say it is the reason why I was offered a job right out of college. I completed two of my co-ops in Chicago, USA and the rest of my experience I gathered at companies in Croatia alongside studying throughout the academic year as additional practice. The summer co-op program taught me to:

  • Work well with fellow colleagues
  • Gain knowledge in my field of interest
  • Better my work ethic in a professional environment

I began to wonder about the overall structure of the university and if it differed much from the average American university structure. As of the overall academic structure, RIT Croatia doesn’t differ much when it comes to credits and courses when comparing it to their main campus in Rochester, USA as well as other American colleges. I realized this when I attended one semester abroad at the RIT’s main campus in Rochester, New York. The only main differences I would say is the size of the student body and campus, as well as the variety of courses that are provided. Since this is an American university in Croatia, it is also very important to note that all credits are transferable and accepted by other American universes. 

Finances: Incentive to strive towards excellence

Now for the more stressful deciding factor. The university that you choose really is your home away from home. Not only can you learn lessons and truly prosper, but the sense of knowing that your family has your back is a really important note. Just like a family helps one another out whenever needed, RIT Croatia provides each student with a scholarship if they exceed in their academics. Give praise, where praise is due is something that the university abides by. Not only does RIT Croatia have a phenomenal scholarship program for selected students, but they also make sure to provide an incentive for hard-working students with the opportunity to get an on-campus job. This allows students not only to get to know the campus and their colleagues better but to use their extra time as efficiently as possible! 

Comfort & Belonging: Home away from home 

Aside from really feeling like I was already a part of the RIT Croatia family when I visited for the first time, there were many more things that I liked about the university, but also about the idea about moving to Croatia. For me, one criterion that I wanted to hold onto when deciding on a university was that I wanted it to have a campus that was in a city rather than a campus that isn’t near a city at all. The RIT Croatia campus is located in the city of Zagreb and is only 3 bus stops away from the city center. This gives you complete access to whatever you may need and everything that you want to enjoy in such a beautiful city like Zagreb.

Another reason why I knew RIT Croatia was a perfect fit for me was that of the relatively smaller student body when comparing it to American universities in the USA. I can strongly say that the decision to attend a smaller university was the right decision looking back. You will come across courses that may be more challenging for you, so knowing that you have easy access to professors and more one-on-one time is absolutely crucial to overcoming these obstacles in your academic journey. Alongside that, the overall community is more collective and tight, and over time you and your peers become more of a family rather than just colleagues that attended the same university as you. RIT Croatia provides a lot of extracurricular activities as well as student gatherings to provide you with a chance to get to know your student body even better. Even now, being an RIT alum, I can strongly say that the university will stay connected even when you complete your studies, proving even further that this isn’t just a university, but more of a home. 

Decision time: I knew from the beginning of the application process that I would be an RIT Tiger

I realized that looking back at my decision that I made, this truly was the greatest decision that I made. All of my deciding factors were in check and the sense of belonging and comfort that I had was really the cherry on top. I was one of the first seniors in my graduating class in high school to have decided on which university to attend. I was a proud RIT Tiger even before I was an official RIT Tiger! 

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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