Location: Croatia, Summer 2019
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Term Abroad: Summer '19

Majors: Political Science

Minors: Legal Studies and Global and International Studies

Program Name: Croatia: Social Work Practice in Post-War Communities

What’s your best memory from your time abroad?

There were many extraordinary moments during my time in Croatia. If I had to choose one memory as the best, I think it would be my time spent volunteering with a local community organization known as Breza. I had the opportunity to volunteer with them for several days, and each day was a new learning opportunity. I had the chance to see their efforts at community development and broaden my perspective on the importance of community in the United States and abroad.  

Initial Thoughts on Arrival & Cultural Adjustment

Initially, when I arrived in Croatia, I was exhausted. Still, I was eager to explore the city. I was mesmerized by the style of the city and the structure of its buildings. I was captivated by the locals who gathered at cafes to drink coffee and share conversations at any given time during the day. It was not difficult to adjust to the culture in Croatia. I think the kindness and openness exhibited by the locals made adjusting easier.

Courses

This program fulfilled three credit hours of electives. 

Housing

During my time spent in Croatia, I stayed in a hotel, with a host family, and an Airbnb. 

Money Matters

There are a variety of scholarships available at IUPUI and the individual school level to assist with study abroad finances. The program directors helped make available scholarships known to us before our departure. I was the recipient of two scholarships, which contributed significantly to ensure that I could take full advantage of the study abroad opportunity. 

Leisure & Travel

The duration of the program was spent in Zagreb and Osijek. Outside of program hours, I spent my time exploring the city, checking things off my must-see list, trying different restaurants, and making spontaneous trips to other local attractions like museums and parks. I chose to extend my time in Croatia outside of the program arriving a day early and leaving several days after the program ended. After the program ended, I flew to the coast, explored Dubrovnik, and visited the Otok Lokrum Island. 

LocalsPerkins-sydnee.jpg

Everyone in Croatia that I encountered was extremely open, kind, and hospitable. I was so intrigued when I first arrived because I expected the language barrier to be present and make communicating difficult. Of course, there were times that it was present, but we quickly found ways to overcome it and still communicate. Still, I was completely shocked at the local’s willingness to speak English to me. I spent some time before leaving for Croatia, studying basic Croatian greetings, which was extremely helpful.

Advice

My advice to anyone considering studying abroad is to be open-minded, adaptable, and patient. If you can, extend your time abroad outside of the program. This extra time can give you the opportunity for further exploration. I would also recommend learning the basics of the language spoken wherever you are visiting to assist with communication.

Effect on Career Goals

My experience in Croatia significantly affected my career goals. This opportunity allowed me to become more open-minded, which I believe will help me to be a better lawyer and politician in the future. My time in Croatia spent volunteering, talking with locals, and meeting with various community organizations furthered my desire to become involved in the international community as a lawyer and politician. It also made me heavily consider the individual, academic, and professional I want to be.