First impressions of Croatia
It’s been already a month since I arrived in Zagreb, how short it’s been for me!
Today I would like to tell you a little about my impressions of the country and Zagreb, so that it may help you when choosing a destination if you have any doubts about which city to choose when volunteering, although if the cause of it is good, I think the destination is something secondary.
I chose Croatia as my destination because, in addition to the fact that the volunteering offered was the one I liked the most and best suited to my calendar, I had had the opportunity to get to know the country two months ago as a tourist and I fell in love with the country. Croatia is a green and blue country, the interior is surrounded by mountains and the coast has crystalline waters, and when both are mixed the result is incredible, it is a landscape that is impossible to stop looking.
When I came as a “tourist” (although the correct word would be “traveler”), I think I knew the basics of the country, as I didn’t have time in a week to get involved with its people. Now this time I’ve been here is allowing me to immerse myself in its culture. We live in a neighborhood a little away from the center which is ideal to see how people are in their day to day, it is incredible to see how, now in summer, you always see people on the street, children with their parents in the parks, terraces overflowing or people who greet you even if they do not know you. I really like living in a neighborhood like this because it reminds me of my village, it makes me feel like I’ve been here all my life even though I’ve only been here for a month.
Croatia has incredible cities known as Dubrovnik or Split, as well as a thousand islands (literally) to lose yourself on. While being here I have had the opportunity to go to Istria and I can only say that it is a wonderful destination if you are looking for Mediterranean food, good climate and crystal clear beaches (don’t think about sandy beaches because it’s difficult here).
However, Croatia is not all coast. We are in Zagreb, the capital city. Zagreb is in the interior and is surrounded by mountains, it is a city with a different charm than the coastal cities but it has that something that makes you want to stay. Besides, you have a lot of monuments and museums to visit, in summer there are always events for all kinds of public and, if it’s very hot, you can always go for a swim to any of the two lakes that are in the city or visit a nearby country as there are many capitals cities a few kilometers from here. After this time here (which is not much) I can only say that Zagreb makes you feel at home and when I leave I will miss basic things such as going to the supermarket in the neighborhood.
In short, if you can do a volunteer outside do it because it is an experience that will make you grow as a person, you will be able to contribute your grain of sand while discovering new places and cultures, and if you doubt among different volunteers and in different countries, choose the one that is in Croatia, you really will not regret it.