Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Croatia VS London
Currently, I have two homes – one in London and the other one in Croatia. Croatia is a joy for my heart, but London is ensuring that I keep my bank account full.
I made a list of 7 things that differentiate Croatia and London
Searching for a flat
Real Estate market in London is dynamic!There are so many flats available for rent! If you searching a flat and you don't book it right away, it is very likely that someone else will take it within the next few hours. There are usually 5-10 viewings a day!
In Croatia, things are more relaxed, real estate market is slow. You will probably find only few ads online that are compatible with what you are looking for. Furthermore, when you are renting a flat in Croatia you can usually expect that landlord will have 2 viewings a month so you have plenty of time to look around.
Food and Air
When I am in London I feel if I close my eyes while eating tomato or an apple I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Food is tasteless! I can leave a zucchini in my fridge for 3 months and it will be the same. Not even bacterias wants to eat that food? And the air – oh, I am feeling like I am walking through a cloud of fog made of car smoke.
While at the same time food in Croatia is super tasty. And air – I actually feel like I can breathe when I am in Croatia.
Trust and reputation
London is a busy place with many people in transition. There are many scams and it is good to be careful. People are not used to a stranger offering help or asking for a favor, if you try to do this in the London, you will look suspicious. Once I asked for a phone charger on a business event, they were looking at me like I am trying to hack the building. When I first moved to London I was trying to buy a knife and every time when I would ask in Tesco, Sainsburies or Lidl „can I buy a knife here“ a security guy would show up looking at me like I am some kind of terrorist. I was just trying to cut a potato for lunch! Crazy.
Croatia is a really small country. If you scam someone in Croatia, EVERYONE will know it within a few days. Because your friend is friend of a friend of your boss, and his daughter is your cousin's girlfriend, who is related with your grandma's neigbour. Bottom of line, if you do something wrong in Croatia, your family, friends, and your colleagues will know it very soon, and for the next few years every time when someone does something wrong, you will be the first person who comes on their mind. As a consequence of this, people in Croatia are mostly fair and trustworthy (or if someone is not, everyone knows it). It is normal to ask people for help, if you need a charger, a jacket, a glass of water, or if you got lost, if you need to crash in on someone's couch or you need a ride - you can simply ask anyone and they will probably help you without expecting anything in return.
Searching for a job
If you are qualified and talented in London you can get a job within a few days. When you upload your CVs on job boarding pages, recruiters will start reaching out and you will just have to decide do you want to work in a stable corporation or a rapidly growing start-up. Start salary for a graduate is usually around 20-25k. Don't get me wrong, competition in London is dangerous, but there is almost endless number of opportunities.
When you graduate from University in Croatia, regardless which field, you can get a job as a bartender within a few days and that is exactly what most of people do. There are around 3-5 job ads in the whole country if you actually want to do something that is your profession. It takes approximately 6 months to one year to find a job, if you have a good network and if you were a really good student. My friend has a PhD in Chemistry and an international award from University and now she is selling donuts.
It is well known that British people are big on diplomacy. Lovely, splendid, superb, interesting! When I just started to hang out with colleagues in London I believed that „interesting“ means that they are genuinely interested in what I am talking about. Later I find out that means precisely the opposite.
In Croatia, people say exactly what they mean, and no one is offended. If you ask someone „did you had a good time on my event“, he might say „it was really boring, or please don't bother me with that.“ Croatians have no problem with expressing their dissatisfaction or boredom. Winning is kind of part of a culture. Average Croatian will complain on everything as part of a regular conversation, for example – this chair would be nicer if it is purple, I think your work is not good etc.
Minding your own business
While in London you can walk around dressed like an unicorn or spiderman and probably no one will even pay attention, in Croatia things are a bit different.
When you come to the local store to buy some food, lady who is working there will make sure to ask you who are your parents, where are you from, where do you live, why do you need food, what are you cooking, how many people are coming... It can be intrusive, but also it means that you will never be lonely because people will behave like you are already friends.
Work Life Balance
Most of the people in London are travelling to work between 30 to 45 minutes if they are lucky. It is not unusual to spend more than an hour on your journey to office. Very often the case is that a professional spends 12 hours a day on work and commuting. Which means that you wake up, go to the office, and when you come home it is already time for shower and dinner. Everything is far away, people are busy, acitivities are expensive, it is not so easy to have a social life.
In Croatia, people are working from 8 to 16:00 and they usually take 5-10 minutes to get to work. That leaves you with a lot of time (and energy) for socializing and enjoying life. There is a word „Pomalo“ which means just take it easy (and enjoy life).
Average person in London earns around 30 000k while average person in Croatia earns around 8k a year. This is completely changing situation for companies who are launching products on the market.
If you are launching something in London, you are basically competing with quality.
While if you are launching something in Croatia, the main condition is that it is very affordable.