Slovenia is the richest Slovak nation and is a member of the EU, NATO and UN, among many more organizations. Though slightly smaller than New Jersey, Slovenia has a variety of landscapes, ranging from hilly areas to Mediterranean beaches to flat plateaus. Slovenia's Kras plateau, between central Slovenia and the Italian frontier, is an interesting area of unusual geological formations, underground rivers, caves, and gorges. Although Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia from 1918 to 1991, the country has always identified strongly with central Europe, maintaining a balance between its Slavic culture and language and Western influences.
Women make up 45% of the overall work force, but because of the patriarchal driven society, they are limited to the fields of cultural and social welfare, public services and administration, and the hospitality industry. They are also expected to take care of all household matters, regardless of outside careers. Competition into universities is stiff, with only 36% of the population obtaining a full degree. Nuclear families are more common in urban areas with rural areas still sometimes having multiple generations in one home.
Slovenia is the country of sports and recreation. Winter is primarily a season for skiing. In summer there are lakes, sea and rivers and in the fall, many participate in trekking and cycling. Among popular sports are skydiving, rafting, sailing and scuba-diving, surfing, fishing and hunting, riding and golf. Teens also go to cinemas, bowling alleys and pool clubs.
Slovenia has a rich culinary tradition that is a product of both its climate and its location at the crossroads of central Europe. Slovene culinary heritage is reflective of Mediterranean, Alpine, and Eastern European cultures. Meals are an important part of Slovene family life, and enjoying a snack or a glass of wine at a café with friends is a typical social activity. Although every region in Slovenia has its own specialties, most of Slovenia's oldest traditional dishes are made using flour, buckwheat, or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage.
The official language of Slovenia is Slovene, which is a Slovak language with influences from German and Italian. The majority of the population, about 70%, identifies as Catholic. The other 30% are any number of Christian denominations and there is a small Jewish population.