Croatia always seems to be at a unique crossroads in Europe. Eastern Europeans often think of it as western, western Europeans often think of it as eastern, and when you are actually there it feels more aligned with the southern states of Italy, Spain, and Greece. A laid-back country with one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, Croatia is the perfect place to spend a summer interning abroad while basking in the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Croatia is a very small country, with a population of just over 4 million citizens. Interning abroad here it is likely that you will find yourself rooted in one of the few large cities sprawling along the Croatian landscape.
Zagreb is the country’s capital and by far it’s largest city, with nearly 800,000 residents. Located in the northern regions of the country, Zagreb is a major European transportation hub and the center of most of Croatia’s economic and political activity. It’s major industries are in the service and high-tech sectors, so prospective interns interested in these areas will do good to look for placements in the capital city.
Split is the country’s second largest city, and is also thought to be one of the oldest settlements in Europe. Pristinely located on the southern end of the Dalmatian coast, Split’s architecture and views of the Adriatic Sea are breathtaking. Split’s economy is more based in heavy industry than Zagreb – shipbuilding, plastics, and textiles are some of its most productive areas – but it is also a very popular tourist spot, making internships in travel and hospitality plentiful.
Internships are also offered in smaller cities of Croatia such as Rijeka, Pula, and Vukovar. Be sure to do some research about the different areas of Croatia to decide which might appeal most to you.
Internships in Croatia
Although Croatia is a small country, its economy is faring quite well and it boasts a diversity of successful industries. Interns abroad in Croatia can take their pick from a range of different placements in professional fields such as medicine, agriculture, and travel.
Croatia is one of Europe’s hottest travel destinations, so those interested in the hospitality and tourism industry will find it to be a very fruitful country for internships abroad. Working at a hotel, restaurant, or for a travel agency are some of the available positions for foreign interns.
There are also several international programs designed for pre-med students which allow you to shadow a doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant at a local Croatian medical facility. If you are pursuing a career in medicine or healthcare, interning in Croatia could be a great life experience to have under your belt, and will look great on your resume too.
Croatian is not a widely spoken language, so many intern abroad programs will set you up with a placement where you will not be expected to know the native tongue. This being said, speaking Croatian will open up a whole separate realm of internship opportunities with local companies that would otherwise be unavailable. English is spoken commonly as a second language throughout the country, but Croatian remains the language of business in most formats.
Salary & Costs
Croatia is cheaper than most countries in Western Europe, but some popular tourist areas can prove much more expensive than the average. The local currency is the Kuna, although euros are sometimes accepted at formal establishments too.
Internships in Croatia, as in many other countries, can be paid or unpaid depending on the type of work you are doing. If not paid, many employers or intern abroad programs will compensate you by other means, such as room and board.
Accommodation & Visas
Different internship programs will offer to set you up with different types of accommodations in Croatia, depending mostly on location and the duration of your program. Homestays are sometimes offered to current students, though many interns choose to live in their own apartment instead. Apartments are moderately affordable in the country’s major cities, though you will likely want to live with roommates or rent out a single room to save costs.
Candidates who currently live in the European Union will not have to apply for a visa to intern abroad in Croatia. Those coming from outside of Europe might need a visa or work permit, depending on whether the internship is paid and the home country where you are coming from. For more details about Croatia’s visa policy you can find your local Croatian Consulate via our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Fascinating History. Croatia and the surrounding region was at the center of brutal conflict for independence only two decades ago. Though it is now a peaceful country, learning about its rich history and complex regional context is exceedingly interesting.
International Experience. Croatia is a unique country to intern abroad in, and employers will notice this. Challenging yourself by making the leap will not only be very personally rewarding, but it will make you a more enticing professional candidate as well.
Beautiful Land. Simply put, Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With rolling mountains and thousands of islands speckled up and down the Dalmatian Coast, the intern abroad will never tire of exploring the awe-inspiring geographical diversity.