In our new feature ‘Word on the Street…Foreigners who made Croatia home’ – we will be meeting those people who have decided to move and make a new life in Croatia. We will find out from them 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…
Name: Jason Berry
Age: Big Four Oh
Country of origin: USA but naturalized Irish (EU passport makes living in Croatia very easy)
How long have you been in Split?
Coming up on three years
What bought you to Split?
I met a 6 foot 1 Croatian girl and we we’re looking for a new place to live after Ireland. We wanted somewhere on the Med for the sunshine but close to the mountains for skiing in the winter. I veto’ed Spain, she veto’d France, I veto’ed Italy, we both veto’ed Egypt, Libya, Greece, Israel and Turkey! I suggested Croatia. She wasn’t against it but not crazy for it. She veto’ed Rijeka, I veto’ed ZG (no 6 months of summer) and we settled on Split and moved to see if it was possible.
I run a hedge fund/commodities trading business. The business requires good telecoms and an educated population from which to pull people to work on our trading desks. Split ticked both boxes, as well as the all important quality of life sunshine and close to the mountains.
Was was the most difficult thing about the shift?
Honestly nothing. Our lawyer Dani Pavlinovic from Makarska sorted all our bureaucracy items, business and personal paper work and we simply moved over. Making new friends is the only tough thing. Split folks aren’t used to “immigrants” and an immigrant’s lonely needy no friends situation, but I’m finding people through basketball and friendly neighbors.
How do you make your living in Split?
I run a small hedge fund/commodities proprietary trading business. We have a private fund and hire people to join us, learn our trading systems and trade the company’s money. We have a large office in Dublin and a small 13 person team here in Split. www.positive.ie
3 Favourite things about Split?
Mediterranean climate and location which makes summers rock and winters mild.
The city itself is ooooooold and beautiful, a manageable size, and very sports oriented. Have you seen the list of Olympic athletes on the Zapadna Obala! Ireland’s second biggest city Cork is the same size as Split and has 1 Olympic athlete ever. Split has dozens upon dozens.
The views. I never get tired of the views of the harbor and the cityscape whether from Klis, the airport or Varos. Even the crummy old commie buildings blend nicely into the cityscape.
3 Things you would like to change about Split?
More international restaurants. The nearest Thai restaurant is an hour and a half away in Zadar!
Please turn off the Bura in Jan-March.
Favourite ‘Croatian’ food?
Scampi or Jastog na buzaru with spaghetti!
Favourite place to eat?
Paradigma hands down. It’s in ZG now for the winter. I’ve been abandoned. Petar Graso’s skipper pizza place is hard to beat for cheap eats and million dollar view.
Not my scene any more but anywhere in the palace is good.
Favourite place to chill out/relax?
Paradox after work: a beer for me and a glass of wine for the missus.
Favourite place outside of Split to visit in Croatia?
Laganini bar and restaurant on Palmizana island near Hvar. Park the boat, swim, drink, eat, watch the sun go down.
How are you going with the language?
I went gangbusters on it for the first two years, lessons two-three times a week. Now everybody from ZG and BG makes fun of my lipi naglazak, I don’t get most Croatian jokes, and I can almost understand my punac’s hardcore Dalmatian Croatian. Malo po malo.
Biggest cultural difference between Croatia and your home country?
I’ve got two heavy-duty differences that I don’t like to hold in.
Some people not so open or tolerant of different people: foreigners, immigrants, gay folks. But it’s getting better every year. Most people still think it’s ok to drink and drive. Also changing slowly but something I struggle with nearly every time I go out.
Ok heavy topics done. 🙂
Do you see yourself staying in Croatia?
You all are stuck with me.
Any tips for anyone looking at making a move?
Don’t fall for the “Croatia sucks, has no jobs, no opportunities” BS. This place is filled with opportunities for entrepreneurs, and people who want to work hard.