Article and photos by Mariana Campera – HRT – La Voz de Croacia (Croatia’s Voice originally in Spanish)
Translated by: Alejandra Pavisich
The State Office for Croats Abroad, a government office of the Republic of Croatia awarded 233 scholarships to study Croatian in Croatia and on the internet for the academic year 2017/2018. This is the largest amount of grants awarded in a single year In the State Office for Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia, the grants allow students to learn Croatian for semester long courses at the universities of Zagreb, Split and Rijeka. In Zagreb, 56 students who are members of the Croatian people that live outside Croatia, and come from about 20 countries, who are mostly from South American countries, signed their individual scholarship contracts for the study of the Croatian language, both in person and through the Internet for the academic year 2017/2018.
In the five years that this Office has been granting the scholarships, between 2012 and 2017, 986 scholarships were awarded to 711 students of “Croaticum Program”. The scholarships include the costs of the Croatian language course at the Faculties of Philosophy of Zagreb, Split and Rijeka, as well as the costs of subsidized food in university cafeterias, as well as part of the accommodation costs.
Jorge Ivan Higinson Grgurić is from Lima and this is his second time in Croatia. He began to learn the Croatian language in Peru, and as soon as he learned about the possibility of applying to the scholarship, he decided to apply to study in the Croaticum program. Jorge considers that this is an excellent initiative for those who are interested in living in Croatia, and for those who wish to contribute to the improvement of Croatia. “Let them come”, says Jorge, “and give the best of themselves.”
Tomás Gadze is from Argentina and has been in Croatia for a week. He was extremely grateful for the opportunity offered by the State Office to young Croatians from all over the world and stressed that he would take full advantage of this possibility.
The aim of this program is to connect Croatians from all over the world with the country from which their ancestors came from, so that they learn about the traditions and the legacy of their ancestors, through the learning of the Croatian language.
Ivana Perkušić, deputy secretary of the State Office for Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia, told the new students that the Office, through the Croatian Language Learning Program, wants to promote and strengthen the link between Croatians living abroad and its Croatian homeland. These intentions are also reflected in the number of scholarships and grants approved, this year, which are the largest amount of scholarships to date.
Most Croaticum students have Croatian roots, and their desire is to stay in the country of their ancestors. But many of those who decide to return to their country of origin transmit their knowledge to other members of their Croatian community. The importance of this program for Croatian youth around the world was also reflected in last year’s experiences.”
Source: Original article in Spanish: La Voz de Croacia “Se firmaron los contratos para estudiar croata en Croacia” by Mariana Campera
Original photos by: Mariana Campera