Zagreb, Croatia Report of what it's like to live there - 03/02/09

Personal Experiences from Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia 03/02/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I've lived in Paris, France and Verona and Rome, Italy.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

8 months.

View All Answers


3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Military.

View All Answers


4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

No direct flights from the U.S. due to FAA safety classification. Good road condition to Ljubljana (1.5 hours), Triest is about 4 hours away. Graz is about 3 hours away.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most families live North of the city on the hills. The distance to downtown varies between a few minutes to about 20. The school is in this area. The Embassy is South of town, and commute can be long (45 minutes). There are plans to move the international school towards the Embassy, but it will still be a few years.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Good availability and choice. Cost is, in my opinion, slightly lower than in European cities.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

American groceries (peanut butter is very expensive, as is maple syrup). Plastic Ziploc bags are very different here, and I am glad I brought some. Specific brand items that you might have a strong preference for.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Restaurants are less expensive than in many other cities in Europe. Meat is everywhere ad good. Not much choice for vegetarian or ethnic food, but it is available. McDonald's is there, as is Subway.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Some mosquitoes in the summer.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Post offices are efficient.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Easily available, less good that in other cities I lived at. It runs about 40 to 50 KN/hour.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. Many are beautiful and very modern. Pilates is big here.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

They are readily available. I have not heard of scams or problems like for examples in Italy.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Jewish, Orthdox, I believe

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Cable has many English channels, but also Croatian national TV, since it broadcasts most programs in Original Language with subtitles. So TV shows are in English.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by with just a little. Many young people speak English in the city. Outside of it, it is a different matter. Some Italian is spoken on the coast. Many speak German.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I have the impression the city is by no means fully accessible, but I see slow progress being made. Still a long way to go.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Trams and buses service all of the city very efficiently. Buses are also very good to reach smaller towns. I have not used trains, but they are available especially to go towards Austria and Hungary.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Roads are very good in the city and in most of the country. Parts of American cars can be expensive and it can take longer to get them in.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, about US$50/month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Coverage is good, there is a choice between at least three providers.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I do not believe so.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes. Also all night clinics.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not really.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Smart, elegant for work and around the city, but casual is also accepted.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good.

View All Answers


2. What immunizations are required each year?

Nothing specific. We follow the CDC schedule.

View All Answers


3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Zagreb is still a very safe city. The country was shocked because of two major violent episodes this fall, both connected with organized crime. Still, Croatian children walk to school alone and walk back even if it is dark outside, and it is common to see women out on their own even late at night, coming home from the bus stops.

View All Answers


4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Healthcare is of good standard, even though the look of some of the facilities can be disheartening. Some cultural differences can be puzzling.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Warm/hot summers, winter can be very gray, with frequent rain fall and snow (not much accumulation in the city).

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISZ is the only Int School I have experience with. We are very happy with it. We have asked for supplemental history instruction for our daughter and they were very efficient and responsive in designing a program tailored to our needs. It is a small school, but it is growing.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Unfortunately most sports are available only with Croatian teams/instructors.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Medium small.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

High, the people I know really like it here. Host country nationals are usually very pleasant towards foreigners.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Lively cafe culture among Croats and expats. International Women Club is present and offers some activities. Other poles are the school and the embassy communities.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I have heard that it can be difficult for singles to meet other young people. Families will, in my opinion, enjoy this post.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I am not sure. I know some have made good friends, but at the same time the city can be a bit conservative and difficult.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Again, I have heard of some prejudices (mostly based on race), but I a not sure how real they are. Religion is obviously very important, since being Catholic is almost a matter of national identity, but I am not sure how mu this would enter in play in day to day life with foreigners

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

You can ski about 30 minutes away from the main square, you can do all sorts of water sports at the Jarun lake. There are two ice skating rinks, very well maintained. Zagreb has many parks, including the huge Maximir which, in its Northern side is a veritable forest. There are a lot of small villages that are very interesting to visit, and a water park only a short drive away. There are some interesting festivals throughout the year, and a very active music program with big name international artists.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Lace, silver traditional jewelry, some crystal, trips to the coast.

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

I think so. We were in Rome before, and we are doing much better here, and living "larger."

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, absolutely.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Worries. Life can be truly great here.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Bathing suit for those trips to the coast. Also, if you wear special size clothing or shoes, you may want to stock up.

View All Answers


4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

For Croatia: Vukovar The Wounds.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More