Croatia is a country in southeastern Europe with a long history, although it is still young in terms of autonomy, having become independent in 1991 after being part of Yugoslavia for more than 70 years. In 2013, it joined the European Union.
The country is rich in beauty: National parks, nature reserves, forests, lakes, clean sea, more than a thousand islands and beautiful beaches. Croatia is a truly beautiful and fascinating country.
With only 4 million inhabitants, a third of whom live in or around the capital, Zagreb is the only major city in Croatia, with all the noise and traffic problems that entails.
The cost of living is still generally lower than in Western European countries. But the standard of living in Croatian cities like Zagreb, Split or Rijeka is lower than in many other southern European countries like: Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, etc.
Rent is a problem everywhere, and Croatia is no exception, as many properties are for rent to tourists. For this reason, food and rents near the coast are becoming more and more expensive. Even in Zagreb, rent prices are constantly rising.
This makes life difficult for pensioners, unemployed and unskilled workers, because they do not get enough money. For this reason, many people have emigrated since Croatia joined the EU.
Croatian society is very warm-hearted. Croatians love social and cultural exchange and are known for their hospitality and friendliness.
Most Croatians are talkative and friendly. They will help you, especially if you ask for help or are in danger. They like to entertain their guests and offer them a coffee or a good lunch.
They have a relaxed attitude towards life, which does not mean we are lazy or do not care about things. It means that they always try to find time to have coffee with friends and family. Most women like to go shopping and have some free time.
It is a strongly family-oriented society: grandparents and members of the extended family often help parents and take care of their grandchildren.
There are no serious racial or religious problems in Croatia. There is a problem in integrating some Roma into traditional society, especially in poor areas, but Croatians are largely tolerant of people of other races, creeds, cultural backgrounds, nationalities, or economic status. In Croatia, adaptation is very easy for a foreigner.
Communicating with Croats is easy, just ask and they will answer politely. Many of them speak English, so communication should not be a problem. However, if you really want to integrate into society, you will have to learn Croatian, which is a difficult language for us Latinos because it is a Slavic language.
The crime rate is very low compared to other Western countries. There are some cases of bank robberies and domestic violence, but these events are rare or sporadic. Kidnappings, rapes or murders are very rare.
Children and young people can go out into the streets without any problems and stay there for a long time.
Primary and secondary education is completely free.
At the university, the first year is free, but in the following years you have to pay depending on the results and the number of exams passed. The better the result, the less money you have to pay.
The health care system is free (or almost free) for everyone, you usually have to pay for operations and hospital stays yourself.
The average salary of Croatians is about 800 euros per month. For this reason, many young people have left the country for better salaries in Germany and Ireland.
The unemployment rate nationwide is about 6%, but it is lower in cities like Zagreb, Split and Rijeka because they are important economic centers.
The main professions needed are: Doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers. In addition, of course, there is the ever-active sector IT. The demand for IT professionals is very high, so most Croats who know IT can easily find a good job. Recently, more and more foreigners are working in this sector, especially from the EU and Serbia.
This is the most popular website for finding a job in Croatia.
The Croatian economy is dominated by the service and tourism sector, in which many people work.
The tourism industry has a great weight in the national economy and is one of the most important economic engines of the country.
Tourism in Croatia is highly developed, but does not seem to be able to develop because of the lack of temporary workers. Young people from Serbia and Bosnia come to Croatia to work in tourism, but they often lack qualifications.
To meet the growing tourism demand, which is growing faster than ever, the government has increased the number of foreign workers in the sector due to the lack of Croatian workers.
As far as jobs in the service sector are concerned, the greatest opportunities are in the capital Zagreb, Croatia’s most important economic center.
For a foreigner who does not know Croatian, employment opportunities exist only in the tourism sector, where foreign language skills are an advantage.
Those who want to start their own business in Croatia have to deal with the absurd Croatian bureaucracy, costs, paperwork and a lot of time.
Living and working in Croatia pros and cons
Living and working in Croatia, pros
- Land of exceptional beauty
- Good weather, especially in summer
- Very safe country in terms of personal security and low crime rate
- Life is more relaxed and less stressful than in other countries
- Polite, helpful people
- Free health and education
Living and working in Croatia, cons
- Few job and career opportunities compared to many other European countries
- Low wages and many people struggling to make ends meet
- Corruption and poor government
- Exodus of young people to richer countries
Living and working in Croatia, conclusion
In Croatia, the people are friendly, the food is good, the climate is mild, and the sea is really beautiful. The environment is still largely clean and unpolluted because the country is not industrialized, but on the other hand, this also leads to poverty and lack of jobs.