Year — Fall 2019
Application deadline: December 5, 2018
This little Balkan country has a lot to offer, including its vibrant mix of central European and Mediterranean culture, pristine coastline, and cosmopolitan cities. Your time in Croatia can expand your horizons and expose you to new ideas, languages, and people. The Croatian people are outgoing and sociable and love to share their culture with others. Your year in Croatia will be one you’ll never forget!
Croatians love to meet foreigners—chances are many will want to practice their English with you (even though Croatians tend to be excellent English speakers). The beaches and national parks in Croatia are truly amazing. If you’re a nature lover then you’re in for a real treat!
Your adventure begins in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the United States, although there is a chance that you might be the only one traveling to Croatia. You’ll attend a brief orientation, covering some key information that you’ll need during your first few days abroad. Then you’ll be off to Zagreb, where you will be met by AFS Staff or Volunteers.
Soon you’ll be on your way to your new community. You’ll get a chance to see some of the beautiful Croatian landscape on your way to meet your host family. You might see the foothills of the Alps in the distance, vast inland forests, the mighty Danube River, some of the thousands of islands off the coast, or the picturesque medieval port city of Dubrovnik.
You could be placed anywhere in Croatia, from the rural area of Slavonica, to cities like Zagreb, or the coastal region of Dalmatia. In most Croatian families both parents work full-time so you should prepare to be a bit independent. You might be expected to clean up after yourself, use public transportation to get to school, and help prepare meals. Even though most modern Croatian families are very busy, they really value being able to spend time together. It’s also very common for extended family to come together regularly. Croatians love being outdoors and often go camping on the weekends or during vacation.See where past AFSers have lived
Between school and family, you’ll have the opportunity to make lots of new friends and can expect to spend a lot of time socializing during your year in Croatia. Teenagers tend to be relatively independent and they enjoy hanging out at the mall, having picnics, and going out dancing. Cafés are especially popular places for friends to get together. In the warmer months you might also have the opportunity to check out some of the local street festivals and live theater shows.
Food in Croatia varies by region. Along the coast seafood is very popular and a famous inland dish is strukli, a cheese pastry. Bread is also very popular and is generally eaten with every meal. Croatians tend to eat a lot of meat and typically buy their vegetables fresh from local markets. The biggest meal of the day is lunch, which you’ll eat around 2 pm.
Attending a local school will give you an amazing opportunity to meet people and learn about Croatian culture. Many schools work in two shifts, so half the students go to school in the morning (8 am to 2 pm) and the other half go in the afternoon (2 pm to 8 pm). There are usually six or seven periods per day and schools typically offer additional activities like theater, choir, and sports.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.