HRT: Croaticum students sign Croatian language contracts in Zagreb

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.

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Photo by: Mariana Campera
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Photo by: Mariana Campera

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.”

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Photo by: Mariana Campera
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Photo by: Mariana Campera

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.

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Photo by: Mariana Campera

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

List of Croaticum scholarship recipients for 2017 – 2018

By Alejandra Pavisich

Today, July 21st, 2017 the State Office for Croats abroad, published the list of the partial scholarship recipients who have been accepted to study Croatian in Croatia through a a partial scholarship for the Croatian classes done in Croatia and full scholarship for the students who will learn Croatian through the internet because the program pays for the online course and the student can learn in his/her home country. For the Fall of 2017 and the Spring 2018 semesters, 215 scholarships have been awarded, including 154 scholarships in Croatia and 10 online learning courses.

This year 3 students from the United States and 5 students from Australia were selected for the 2017-2018 partial scholarships.

It is of special pride as a Bolivian Croatian that this year has reached the highest number of Bolivian students who have been benefited by the scholarship with a total of 14 Croatian Bolivian students receiving the scholarship, 13 for the course in Croatia and 1 for the online course/for e scholarships and 1 for the internet teaching scholarship.

The courses will take place at the Faculty of Philosophy of Zagreb (Croaticum), in the Faculty of Philosophy of Split (Croatia) and in the Faculty of Philosophy of Rijeka (Croatian School of Rijeka).

For further details on the approved partial scholarship, candidates selected under this decision will be notified by email and scholarship contracts will be concluded immediately prior to the start of the Croatian Language Course for the winter or summer semesters.

The program promotes the return of Croatian emigrants and their descendants to the Republic of Croatia through the preservation, and promotion of the Croatian language, and the education about the Croatian culture that creates favorable conditions to facilitate the integration of Croatians born abroad, into the economic and social life of the Republic of Croatia.

With this objective, since the last academic year, it is possible to obtain scholarships for the third and/or the fourth semesters of Croatian language classes. In addition to learning the language, this is also an opportunity to get acquainted with the cultural and natural heritage of Croatia, its people, which will surely be an additional reason for a permanent return of Croatian descendants to their Croatian homeland.

All “Croaticum” classes include extracurricular activities that are constantly being organized, where students actively participate in learning the language and culture in a practical way. Tours are organized around the city where the Croatian language is taught or trips to other places around the city or in remote areas where the students learn about Croatian history and cultural heritage. Each semester, the Office of Croats abroad and the Croatian universities where the classes take place also organizes shorter experiences, which include day trips to individual national parks and Croatian cities. Graduates of higher Croatian language courses receive invitations to attend theater and film performances, and first time Croatian language students are offered Croatian film projections with English translations. Each semester the students attend cultural presentations performed by several Croatian cultural workers.

Please visit the links below:

Link to official Croaticum scholarship announcement by the State Office for Croats Abroad for the 2017-2018 period

Link to official list of Croaticum scholarship recipients for 2017 – 2018

Lista de becarios 2017- 2018

If you want to learn more about the Croaticum program or other scholarship opportunities please join our Facebook group called “Croatian scholarships to study Croatian in Croatia”

 

Contact information for Croaticum 2017-2018

By Alejandra Pavisich

Applicants to the Croatian language learning program Croaticum 2017 – 2018 sponsored by the State Office of Croats Abroad in Zagreb, Croatia, usually have a lot of questions regarding the costs, venues, class size, visa requirements, health insurance, etc. that come up as prospective students and applicants go through the motions of considering, applying and being accepted for the Croaticum program either in Croatia or online.

To address these questions applicants and selected students have the resources listed below that range from, a Facebook group that has Croaticum alumni volunteers to the names and contact information of 3 State Office for Croats abroad staff members that answer questions ranging from: program inquiries, application status to general inquiries about the program.

Facebook group with Croaticum alumni volunteers to answer your questions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/croatianeducation/

For all inquiries related to the Croatian language learning program contact:

Mr. Viktor Škovrlj vskovrlj@hrvatiizvanrh.hr Tel:+385-1-6444-683

For all inquiries related to application status:

Ms. Marija Matek mmatek@hrvatiizvanrh.hr  Tel+385-1-6444-670

For any application feedback:

Dario Magdic dmagdic@hrvatiizvanrh.hr

To read information about the changes to the program for this year, as well as read and download the public call, the application and the student handbook please visit the following link:  Public call to study Croatian in Croatia or online for 2017-2018

The deadline for the application is: June 19, 2017

2017 ACAP Conference – Bridging the gap: Opportunities and Connections for Learning the Croatian Language

By Alejandra Pavisich. Photo: Branka Slavica HRT. Video: Association of Croatian American Professionals

Dear readers, I want to share with you the video of my participation at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Association of American Croatian Professionals (ACAP) 2017, held in Chicago, United States on May 12, where one of the topics was focused on the education opportunities to learn the Croatian language in the United States and also in Croatia.

The panel in which I participated was called: “Bridging the gap: Opportunities and Connections for learning the Croatian language.” My participation focused on the success story of the high participation of the  Croatian South American community (90%) in the annual public call for the partial scholarships granted by the State Office for Croats Abroad that consistently has the highest number of participants in the Croatian language courses in Croatia and online. During my intervention (minute -18:29 to – 12:42 in the video link below) I mentioned that we have 4 factors for that high rate of participation of the South American diaspora:

1) Word of Mouth. This is how a lot of people find out in their Croatian communities in Latin America about this annual public call, through friends or relatives who have participated in the program.

2) Dissemination of the partial scholarship program through social media (Facebook, WhatsApp) and mass media. The scholarship information is widely distributed in about 40 Facebook pages and groups of the different Croatian communities accross Latin America, where there are also radio programs broadcasted by the Croatian communities in Argentina and Chile where most of the Croatian community is concentrated in South America.

3) The active use of the Facebook group for partial scholarships, which already has over 760 members. In this group both applicants and alumni communicate, inform and advise on the steps to be followed for the application, and then the trip to Croatia. The applicants can ask any question regarding the scholarship.

4) The need to learn Croatian to take and pass the Croatian citizenship test. Due to a change of Croatian citizenship law made in 2012, it has become a requirement for descendants of Croatians to learn the Croatian language and pass the Croatian citizenship test studying 100 questions from which 15 are selected randomly. In addition to passing the test, the applicants also need to fill out the application in Croatian, submit a brief resume in Croatian and have a brief interview in Croatian.

The panel brought together a variety of participants who contributed with their experience and knowledge to understand the challenges and opportunities that Croatian Americans have in learning the Croatian language, not just in Croatia but through Croatian language classes in the United States.

Video link: Panel on opportunities and connections to learn the Croatian language. Click link to watch the video.

Public call to study Croatian in Croatia or online 2017-2018

By Alejandra Pavisich

The annual public call for partial scholarships granted by the State Office for Croats abroad has been published. The purpose of the scholarship aimed at students of Croatian descent around the world, is to encourage  the study of the Croatian language a in face-to-face classes in Croatia or online for the academic year of 2017-2018.

The public call is for descendants of Croatians, their spouses, and friends of the Croatian people who foster Croatian identity and promote the Croatian cultural community. Applicants should be at least 18 years old, have completed high school and reside outside the Republic of Croatia.

Some of the new issues relevant for this 2017-2018 academic year are the following:

  • Student Guidebook.  The student guidebook is  fairly complete guide about the duties and responsibilities of students who have been granted the scholarships, as along with administrative procedures to be carried out by students. Students are provided with  information on university dormitories, restaurants, offices for registration for Croatian medical insurance and assistance provided by the State Office for Croats Outside Croatia to students who wish to apply for their Croatian citizenships while in Croatia, which allows them to live, study and work in Croatia and the European Union.
  • Croatian course online, granted only for 1 semester. The online Croatian course will be subsidized for a single semester at the beginner level. Students do all their reading and exercises online through the Moodle platform at the University of Zagreb, and have one on one Skype calls twice a week, with their Croatian language professors to go over the material and practice their Croatian.
  • Opportunity to apply and study for a 3rd and 4th semester of Croatian language for students who have obtained the maximum grades of As or Bs in their 1st and 2nd semester of studying the Croatian language. This is a new incentive for young professionals who not only want to get their Croatian citizenship, but also want to work in the Croatian labor market. The extra Croatian courses will help the student to attain a very good level of the Croatian language, to be competitive candidates for jobs in Croatia. Upon completion of one or two semesters, the beneficiaries may receive a scholarship for the third or fourth semester, provided that the recipient shows their intention to reside, study or work in the Republic of Croatia, as well as providing a certificate from the Educational Institution where they studied in Croatia where they achieved grades between As or Bs.
  • Prove your family relationship with your Croatian ancestor using the documentation of birth certificates, and other documents that connect you to that ancestor. If you are a Croatian son or daughter, grandchild, and great grandchild,  you must prove your family relationship by sending your birth certificate, the birth certificate of your father or mother of Croatian origin (with the name of the Croatian grandparent) and the birth certificate or other document of your Croatian grandparent.  “It is also necessary to prove the family relationship with that person by presenting a birth certificate from the parents, or their parents, all the way back to the ancestor with Croatian nationality.”
  • Applicants who already have  the Croatian citizenship, that were granted a scholarship for learning the Croatian language by the State Office in previous years do not have to provide proof of Croatian citizenship.
  • More points are awarded in the criteria of the selection table to the applicants of the partial scholarships that received the best marks (15 points) and Bs (10 points). “The candidate who has already completed a one-semester course at the expense of the State Office with an A or B (demonstrated by the contract signed with this state office and the certificate of the institution of higher education in the Republic of Croatia where he/she took the course).
  • Applicants who are active members of their Croatian communities in their home countries receive 20 points in the selection criteria. The applicant who is an active member of the Croatian or Croatian emigrant community or association, proves his/her volunteer activities by providing  a certificate issued by the community / association operating out of the Republic of Croatia.
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources to cover your stay in the Republic of Croatia if you are selected for the scholarship. For the processing of your temporary residence visa, which allows you to study in Croatia after you enter with a tourist visa, the selected students for the partial scholarship must show proof of their financial means of subsistence (proof of the scholarship granted and proof of monthly financial subsistence means that a student must show that he/she has a minimum amount of HRK 1,000 or US$ 150 per month. The proof will be that the student will attach a bank statement of their bank account, showing that he or she has all the funds needed to cover your stay Croatia. Page 7 of the student guidebook.
*** NOTE May 18, 2017. Below is the full text of the public call in English. At the end of the article you will find the links for the 2017-2018 public call, the application in English, and the student guidebook in English.

“REPUBLIC OF CROATIA

STATE OFFICE FOR CROATS ABROAD

 

Pursuant to Articles 33 and 60 of the Act on relations of the Republic of Croatia with Croats abroad (Official Gazette Nos 124/2011 and 16/2012), the Ordinance on the Award of Grants/Scholarships for Croatian Language Learning in the Republic of Croatia and Croatian Language Learning Online (CLASS 011-02/15-03/02, REG. NO.: 537-02-03/3-15-01) of March 30, 2015, the amendments to the Ordinance on the Award of Grants/Scholarships for Croatian Language Learning in the Republic of Croatia and Croatian Language Learning Online (CLASS: 011-02/15-03/02, REG. NO.: 537-02-03/3-16-02) of April 7, 2016, the State Office for Croats Abroad (hereinafter: State Office) hereby publishes the following:

PUBLIC CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

for the Award of Grants/Scholarships for Croatian Language Learning in the Republic of Croatia

and

Croatian Language Learning Online

in the academic year 2017/2018

  1. TYPE OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT

In the academic year 2017/18 the State Office shall approve grants/scholarships for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia for one or two semesters and for Croatian language learning online for one semester (beginner’s level).

The following may apply to the Public Call: persons of Croatian nationality, their spouses as well as friends of the Croatian people and the Republic of Croatia who nurture the Croatian identity and promote the Croatian cultural community, who are not younger than 18 and have completed at least high school education and who have residence outside the Republic of Croatia.

Recipients of grants/scholarships for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia may also have residence in the Republic of Croatia for no longer than two years on the day when this Public Call is published.

Upon completing one or two semesters the recipients may be awarded a grant/scholarship for the third/fourth semester on condition that the recipient provides evidence of their intention to take residence, study or work in the Republic of Croatia as well as a certificate of the educational institution with outstanding results (As or Bs).

Grants/scholarships shall not be awarded to candidates who are recipients of other scholarships in the Republic of Croatia.

  1. The grant/scholarship for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia, which is awarded by the State Office, shall cover the following costs for the recipients:
  • Cost of the Croatian language course (paid to course organisers)
  • Cost of subsidised meals, up to two meals a day (paid to the Ministry of Science and Education)
  • Cost of accommodation (in a student residence or private accommodation) up to HRK 300 a month
  • HRK 100 a month for personal needs

The State Office provides recipients of the grants/scholarships for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia with accommodation in student residences in the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the number of available rooms approved by the Ministry of Science and Education for each academic year.

The above student accommodation includes an average category room with two beds pursuant to current regulations of the Ministry of Science and Education (price, age etc.).

Should the recipient of the grant/scholarship for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia have residence in the Republic of Croatia which is 50 km away from where they attend the course, they are not entitled to student accommodation.

  1. B) The grant/scholarship for online Croatian language learning which is awarded by     the State Office, shall cover the following costs for the recipients:
  • Cost of the Croatian language online course – HiT-1 (paid to the course organiser).

2) LOCATION AND TIME OF COURSES

  1. The courses will be held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Universities of Zagreb, Split and Rijeka.
  • winter semester ( October 2, 2017 to January 26, 2018)
  • summer semester (February 26 to June 8, 2018)
  1. Online Croatian language course HiT-1:
  • winter semester (September 11 to December 3, 2017)
  • summer semester (March 5 to May 27, 2018

3) COMPULSORY DOCUMENTATION

  1. Applicants should submit the following documents:
  • a completed application form (applicants should clearly indicate what they are applying for)
  • a brief CV and motivation letter
  • a valid travel document for all countries of which they are citizens
  • proof of residence outside the Republic of Croatia (in case the candidate already has residence in the RC, they should also submit an appropriate document issued by the Ministry of the Interior of the RC showing that the candidate’s residency has not exceeded two years)
  • birth certificate
  • written evidence of Croatian nationality – a public document of the candidate or their parents or some other ancestor indicating Croatian nationality, such as: birth certificate or school certificate or a copy of a school register or student record or employment record book or military service record book or marriage certificate or death certificate or birth certificate or a Decision on the award of Croatian citizenship pursuant to Article 16, or 11, or a written statement by the head of the competent DM/CO of the RC or community/association of Croatian emigrants. If a public document of an ancestor is used to prove Croatian nationality, it is also necessary to prove blood relation with that person by submitting a birth certificate of the parents, or their parents, all the way back to the ancestor with Croatian nationality.

For spouses – applicants evidence of Croatian nationality of the spouse should be provided, and for friends – applicants a written statement or recommendation of the head of the competent DM/CO of the Republic of Croatia or association of Croatian emigrants, certificate of membership in Croatian organizations etc. should be submitted in order to confirm the applicant’s commitment to nurturing the Croatian identity and promoting Croatian cultural community.

  • high school or higher education diploma.
  • evidence of the spouse’s residence outside the Republic of Croatia (only for spouses – applicants). In case the spouse already has residence in the Republic of Croatia, they should submit an appropriate document issued by the Ministry of the Interior of the RC showing that the candidate’s residency has not exceeded two years.
  • marriage certificate (only for spouses applicants)

NOTE: Applicants with Croatian nationality who were awarded a grant/scholarship for Croatian language learning by the State Office in previous years do not have to submit evidence of Croatian nationality.

  1. CRITERIA

Criteria applied to draw up a list of candidates for the Croatian language learning grants/scholarships are as follows:

  1. A) For Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia
Criteria Number of points
1. Candidate is aged under 25 on the day of Public Call publication (proved by birth certificate) 20
2. Candidate is aged   26 to 35 until the day of Public Call publication (proved by birth certificate) 10
3. Candidate is enrolled in the first or second year of studies, i.e. first or second year of undergraduate studies at a higher education institution in the RC (proved by a certificate issued by a higher education institution in the RC) 20
4. Candidate is a returnee with residence in the Republic of Croatia for less than two years (proved by a certificate issued by Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior) 20
5. Candidate has already completed a one-semester course at the expense of the State Office with an A (proved by the contract signed with this State office and the certificate of the higher education institution in the RC where the course was held) 15
6. Candidate completed a higher education programme (proved by a certificate issued by the higher education institution outside the Republic of Croatia) 10
7. Candidate has already completed a one-semester course at the expense of the State Office with a B (proved by the contract signed with this State office and the certificate of the higher education institution in the RC where the course was held) 10
8. Candidate is an active member of the Croatian minority or Croatian emigrant community/association (proved by a certificate issued by the community/association operating outside RC) 20


B) For online Croatian language learning
:

Criteria Number of points
1. Candidate is aged under 25 on the day of Public Call publication (proved by birth certificate)    20
2. Candidate is aged   26 to 35 until the day of Public Call publication (proved by birth certificate)    10
3.

 

Candidate is an active member of a Croatian minority or Croatian emigrant community/association (proved by a certificate issued by the community/association operating outside RC)    20

NOTE: Should candidates have the same score, persons of Croatian nationality will have advantage. They will be followed by spouses and finally friends of the Croatian people.

  1. SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS

Applications are to be submitted by e-mail only, to the following e-mail address: tecaj-hrvatskog-jezika@hrvatiizvanrh.hr. The application period starts on the day of Public Call publication on the State Office’s website and lasts for 30 days up to and including June 19, 2017. Incomplete applications and applications sent after the deadline will not be considered.

  1. PUBLICATION OF RESULTS

The decision on the award of grants/scholarships for Croatian language learning in the Republic of Croatia and online will be published on the web site of the State Office www.hrvatiizvanrh.hr within 30 days from the deadline for applications.

CLASS: 016-04/17-03/01

REG. NO.: 537-02-01/3-17-01

Zagreb, May 18, 2017

STATE SECRETARY

Zvonko Milas”

Facebook group on scholarships to study Croatian in Croatia. To answer your questions or to get additional information on the partial scholarships, you can join the Facebook group listed below. The volunteers in the group will answer your questions in this group . There is no question that is silly or not appropriate for discussion and we have several volunteers who are alumni to answer your questions. To join the group visit this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/croatianeducation/

Links:

Application form Croaticum 2017-2018. Please click on this text and link to download the application in English.

Public call Croaticum 2017-2018. Please click on this text and link to download the public call announcement in English.

Student guidebook. Please click on this text and link to download the student handbook in English.

State Office for Croats abroad official announcement of the public call for the partial scholarship for the academic year of 2017-2018. Click on this link to open the official announcement about the scholarships at the website of the State Office for Croats abroad.

Vecernji List:”Croatian Bolivian. Pavisich … Pavišić?? You’re one of us “

Vecernji List Pavisich family picture 1930s

A few weeks ago, I started a collaboration with the portal “Moja Hrvatska” with Croatia’s leading newspaper “Vecernji List” writing articles on topics related to the  Croatian diaspora. Moja Hrvatska (My Croatia) is a new section of the newspaper,  that publishes articles from almost 20 authors from around the world contribute articles on topics  that are relevant to the Croatian diaspora. Below is my first article published in Croatian and translated into English.

“Croatian Bolivian.” Pavisich …Pavišić? You’re one of us”

Author: Alejandra Pavisich.
It all started in kindergarten when I realized that my surname sounded very different and strange. It was 1976, and being a little child I could then only write my nickname in Spanish because it was made up of five letters. I did not know what this name last name was all about, so I asked my father: “Where is our last name from?” I asked  my father who answered:” It’s Yugoslavian, your grandfather Francisco (Frane) Pavisich was from that country, when he arrived in Bolivia.”

He showed me a black and white photograph of a strong, older man who had a mustache. Grandfather Francisco was looking at me from the picture with a gentle look to life, and he really looked like my father. However, Francisco grandfather had died in 1966 – five years before I was born.

Francisco Pavisich was born in 1887 in Nerezisce, Brac Island in Croatia when it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His mother and father had died during his teenage years, so at the age of 19 Francisco was already an orphan.

But life has it’s surprises, and my grandfather crossed the ocean to start a new life in South America, in Bolivia. In 1906 he came to the booming Bolivian city of Oruro, where his brother and many Dalmatian friends were working as managers of tin mining operations, at that time tin was the main export product of Bolivia.

Life went on and 81 years after the arrival of Francisco in Bolivia, my parents Dante and Olga visited Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. I remember vividly that after that 1987 trip I carefully examined the pictures that they brought back, and saw all the beautiful places and our relatives who were living in the motherland. That same year,  I began to exchange letters with my cousin Marina Pavišić of Split. I could not believe how I looked so much like Marina’s brother, Marko Pavišić who was also my cousin.

When I left Bolivia to study at the university  in the early 1990s in the United States, the war of independence of Croatia began.  CNN and other international media, constantly showed the bombed ruins of those beautiful places that appeared in the images of the pictures of my parents. It was very difficult to go through those years seeing the havoc caused by war.

My knowledge of Croatian history until then was limited to brief articles about Croatia, which were published in the Encyclopaedia Britannica we had at home. But soon after that, I started looking for new information about the country of origin of my family.

The war had started in that fateful year of 1992. For the first time in my life I felt a passionate love for Croatia, and I wanted to know more about my roots.

A year later, due to a summer course in Austria I went to my first trip to Europe. I remember it as if it were today. From Venice I saw the Adriatic for the first time, and felt the smell of earth and water, it was the closest thing to imagine being in Croatia, and I could feel the motherland that was across the Adriatic Sea, my heart was aching to visit Croatia. But I couldn’t visit because of the homeland war in Croatia I could not still travel to visit our country!

Years passed, I graduated from college and my masters degree in the United States. In Bolivia and the United States I acquired work experience.

Meanwhile, my sister had already received her Croatian citizenship. However, in 2012  the law Croatian citizenship law changed and now stipulated that to apply for Croatian citizenship, the applicant must speak, read and write the Croatian language.

“Well, if I must speak Croatian, I will learn the language,” I said aloud to myself, before I fully realized that this statement would begin a life changing event in my life.

To learn Croatian, I learned that I could apply  to a Croatian language course which was sponsored by the “State Office for Croats outside Croatia”, so I applied to that partial scholarship and got it.

So in 2013, exactly two decades after seeing for the first time the Adriatic from Venice, I went to live and study in Zagreb, Croatia for 5 months. It’s that precise moment that begins my passionate emotional connection with Croatia, when I finally begin to understand what it means to be an immigrant.

Vecernji List Alejandra Pavisich en Croacia

It was an experience that fed and nurtured my love to my Croatian roots, but at the same time I acquired a strong sense of self-knowledge and understanding of Croatian values. These were the values  that had been taught to me by my parents, and they were originally brought to Bolivia by Grandfather Francisco these values were: a strong sense of duty, responsibility, hard work, the importance of education and to encourage the younger generation to be hard working, decent and fair citizens.

During my stay in Zagreb, I had to do the paperwork for health insurance and one of the officials of the Health Institute of Croatia gave me one of the best compliments of my life.

He took the passport, and said:

“Okay. Um … Bolivia … Alejandra … Pavisich …Pavišić? But if you’re one of us! What are you doing here?” I laughed and replied, “I am here to learn the Croatian language and thanks for your compliment, now I feel like a real Croat in Croatia, being here is like being at home.”

It was the most beautiful and meaningful compliment that I got during my stay of five months in Croatia.

My relationship with the motherland remains strong. Two years ago I received my Croatian citizenship and got my Croatian passport recently. I’m still learning about one of the most beautiful countries in the world, sharing important information about our culture, the problems and issues that arise to acquire Croatian citizenship, as well as information and articles on Croatian history, sports, culture, current events and cooking. More than 8,000 fans worldwide are currently subscribed to my Facebook page “Dobar Dan Santa Cruz”.

Having a document that says I’m Croatian is wonderful, but to feel at home in Croatia, that is priceless!

“You’re one of us” – remains the warmest welcome I have gotten anywhere.”Source: http://mojahrvatska.vecernji.hr/pavisich-pavisic-pa-ti-si-jedna-od-nas-1069272

Meeting of the South American Croatian diaspora, April 28-30, 2016 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

During a Croatian community dinner last December 2015, the “Meeting of the South American Croatian diaspora 2016” event was presented. This meeting will take place in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, from April 28 to 30th, 2016 was discussed by the organizing committee chaired by Eng. Robert Jakubek, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Croatia in Santa Cruz Sierra, Bolivia, as well as Eng. Jorge Kuljis and Mr. Tomislav Kuljis, BSc who are in the organizing committee. The event will focus on three areas: socio-political area of the Croatian diaspora, Croatian culture and a business roundtable. The meeting has the support of the Croatian Embassy in Chile headed by Ambassador Nives Malenica, as well as the State Office for Croats outside Croatia based in Zagreb, Croatia chaired by Ms. Darija Krsticevic. Below is the official invitation, meeting program and the address of the website where you can find additional information about the event in English and online registration form. Additionally, committees will be formed to support this event in which the participation of people from the Croatian community in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is requested.

“Dear friends of the Croatian diaspora,

According to plan at our last meeting in Lima in September 2015, we are inviting all of you to our next meeting.

“MEETING OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN CROATIAN DIASPORA 2016” 
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia –  April 28 – 30, 2016

With your help and participation we are sure that our next meeting of the Croatian Diaspora will reach the memorable success of previous meetings we’ve had, including such as the historic meeting of the binational Chambers Croats of South America, held in June 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina when we experienced a lot of happines as members of the Republic of Croatia, which was then a brand new free and sovereign state. This has been followed by other meetings such as the one held recently in Lima, Peru where we shared a lively and unforgettable encounter similar to annual meetings that have also taken place in Chile, and Paraguay.

Looking forward to our meeting in April that is aimed at a larger number of people, the official program is organized around work on three areas: socio-political area of the Croatian diaspora, the Croatian culture and a Business Roundtable. More details can be found on the program below.

We have the support of the Croatian Embassy in Chile and I am sure we will also get the support ofthe embassies of the Republic of Croatia in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Brasilia, Brasil as well as the State Office for Croats outside Croatia and its director, our friend, Ms. Darija Krstičević.

We expect to host in the Business Roundtable businessmen and businesswomen, entrepreneurs and companies of Croatian capital from South America and Croatia, as well as local businesses that could be interested in the participating entrepreneurs.

To conclude this invitation we wish to inform you that our committees are waiting for your inquiries. Various details, accommodation options, alternative travel options, as well as the program of international baroque music that will take place in Santa Cruz at same time develops, can be found on our website:

Lodging and accomodations with corporate discounts

It is worth noting that the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra is at 400 meters above sea level. Santa Cruz de la Sierra is located in the center of South America, in an area with abundant tropical vegetation, at the start of the Amazon basin. The city of about 2 million people has daily connections to most capitals in South America. Currently, Santa Cruz is the largest development center and gateway for business in Bolivia.

Dear Friends, we hope to address the causes that unite us and enjoy this time to share and know about each other.

Jakubek Robert F.
Organizing Committee
“MEETING OF CROATIAN DIASPORA SUDAMERICANA 2016”

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“MEETING OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN CROATIAN DIASPORA 2016”
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia – 28th  to  30th April 30, 2016
PLACE: Congressional Center “Inegas” Av. Bush before reaching the 3rd ring

MEETING  SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 28:
19:30 Welcome reception and dinner for visitors from other countries and guests.
Friday, April 29:
8:30 to 9:00 Presentation of credentials.
9:00 to 9:45 Welcome and opening remarks.
9:45 to 10:20 Economic overview of Bolivia and other countries of the South American continent.
10:20 Joint photos.
10:20 to 11:00 Break (coffee and soft drinks).
11:00 to 12:30 Presentation of the representatives of the delegations of the countries attending the meeting.
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch (in the congressional center).
14:30 to 18:00  Separate work groups by thematic areas:

1. socio-political problems of the Croatian diaspora.

2. Croatian Culture and the teaching of the Croatian language.
3. Business Roundtable.
20:30-23:00 Official dinner in honor of the guests, with artistic presentations with the  two attending Croatian diaspora folk groups .

Saturday, April 30:
Congressional center “Inegas” Av. Bush
9:00 to 10:30 Continuation of work in separate groups and elaboration of conclusions:
1. Problematic political partner of the Croatian diaspora.
2. Croatian Croatian Culture and language teaching.
3. Business Roundtable.
10:30 to 11:00 Break (coffee and soft drinks).
11:00 to 12:00 Closing ceremony: 1. Exhibition of the conclusions of each working group. 2. Proposal and approval of the final document with conclusions and statement for the media.
12:30 hours the congressional Center Transfer to lunch site.
13:00 to 17:00 Farewell lunch (rural environment).
After: Free.

VOLUNTEER COMMITTEES OF SANTA CRUZ BOLIVIA:
General coordination and protocol
Business conference
Culture and Youth
Reception, Lodging and Transportation
Information Center
Medical emergencies
Attention to visitors

Article by: Alejandra Pavisich. Source: http://diasporacroata.com