While Lost in Translation, They Found Themselves in Croatia

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Croatia is a nice and pleasant, but above all safe place to live, panelists of the “lost in Translation” panel agreed, all of them being foreigners who have been living in Croatia for years. American Cody McClain Brown came to Croatia from Oklahoma seven years ago. He teaches English for journalists at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb.

‘I came because of love, but I was dumped over a soup. Croatia is really strong in soups, “says Brown. He wrote two books about his life in Croatia. One of the main characters is his mother-in-law, who doesn’t speak English, not even after seven years of living with him, so he had to learn Croatian.

John Brady came to Croatia from Ireland three years ago to work for BAT. The German Julian Oehrlein has decided in create a startup in Croatia called Oradian six years ago, and now he has 130 people working for him.

‘All my expectations have been surpassed. I’m mostly annoyed that everyone is annoyed with everything and that Croatian people all think the grass is greener on the other side. The grievances about traffic are ridiculous, because traffic in other big cities is much worse than in Zagreb. Recently, I had friends come over from Montreal. They couldn’t stop wondering how everything is close and easy to get to. People here are kind to foreigners, and many speak English so I still have no need to learn Croatian, ‘says Oehrlein.

That is the same reason that Brady only learned to say a couple of sentences in the past three years, some of them being “I’m Irish” and “One more beer”.

“Croats are really friendly towards foreigners, unless you drive a car with Croatian license plates and they don’t know you’re a foreigner. It’s probably so because there aren’t that many foreigners around, unless you’re talking about Advent in Zagreb. Even I as a foreigner, start to complain about the number of foreigners. The biggest advantage of Croatia, in comparison with Ireland is the climate but also safety. When my kids go to the movies by themselves, I really don’t worry. I’m afraid we lost that feeling in Ireland”, stated Brady.

Australian Paul Suchar has been in Croatia the longest. The Partner at KPMG says that Croatia changed a lot in the past 22 years that he’s been here. Safety is also the greatest advantage to him.

“I encountered a group of skinheads on the street in Zagreb once. They were headed straight towards me, I got scared and jumped on the side of the street. They just walked past me, and one of them even said “thank you””, said Suchar, who encountered many Australians of Croatian descent in Zagreb.

Even though all four of them complain about the complex red tape in Croatia, Suchar noted that things are changing for the better, while Oehrlein says that there are obstacles in doing business everywhere. When asked whether they would like to stay in Croatia forever, Suchar’s stay of 22 years kind of confirms that answer to that question. Oehrlein would like to live in other countries as well, but he doesn’t exclude the possibility of returning to Croatia, just like John Brady.

As for Brown, there is no dilemma there.

“I don’t plan on returning to the States. I actually like Donald Trump, because he made my decision to not come back to America that much easier. Even my mother wants to move to Croatia because people help each other here. There’s no empathy like that in human relations in America”, said Brown.