Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Euro Croatia: How to Pay Utility Bills in Croatian Kuna in January 2023

December 13, 2022 - Euro Croatia: from the 1st of January 2023, the official currency in Croatia will be the euro. In the first two weeks of next year, Croatian citizens will be able to pay their bills in kuna, regardless of whether they are issued in kuna or euros.

As Poslovni reports, as soon as we enter the New Year, the official currency in Croatia becomes the euro, which means that payments should be made in euros, but citizens are given a deadline for adjustment in the first two weeks of 2023, during which they can still pay in kuna. The change, however, will be in euros during this transition period. Card payment is recommended as much as possible.

From January 15, the euro will be the only accepted currency, and the kuna will definitely be out of circulation. Regarding the payment of utilities, for example, the Croatian Banking Association states that the currency specified on the invoices should be used to pay.

"Utility bills for December will be issued in January 2023 and will be in euros. For all payment slips that citizens have received in advance and on which the amount of payment is in kuna, and will be paid after the introduction of the euro, the bank is obliged to make the payment in euro in the amount corresponding to the amount of kuna specified on the payment order. The bank will act in this way until July 1 next year," HUB told Novi list.

The Financial Agency (Fina) confirmed yesterday that the above applies to Fina as well.

"After January 1 and until June 30, 2023, Fina will receive orders issued in kuna and will execute them in euros, with the application of the conversion rate. Also, during the dual circulation period, i.e. in the first two weeks of January 2023, citizens can pay orders in kuna, regardless of whether they are issued in kuna or euros," explains Fina.

According to this, it turns out that the criterion is the moment in which the citizens decide to pay: if they pay by January 14, that can be done using the Croatian kuna, and if it's after that, regardless of when the bill was issued and in which currency, it must be in euros. If the citizens do not have euros, they can exchange kuna for euros in several ways. As far as the conversion of kuna into euros is concerned, in Croatia, the bank association points out that throughout 2023, banks, Fina and Croatian Post will exchange up to 100 kuna notes and 100 kuna coins per transaction at the counters for free, to all citizens at the same exchange rate.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Croatian Traditions: Planting Christmas Wheat on Saint Lucy's Day

December 13, 2022 - Croatia is a largely Catholic country, and as such it has many traditions tied to saints, including various Christmas traditions. One of them is Saint Lucy's Day, which is today, on the 13th of December. The Croatian tradition for this day includes planting a little pot of Christmas wheat, which will serve as part of the decorations for the Christmas table.

As Večernji wrote, although pots of wheat can be bought for almost symbolic amounts at markets and in all retail chains, the process of planting wheat is part of a tradition that takes most Croatians back to their childhood, family gatherings and the immense joy of waiting for Christmas, which, unfortunately, seems to be slowly disappearing.

The planting of wheat in the Croatian Christmas tradition carries a deeper meaning: besides being a symbol of the birth of new life and well-being, it invokes and blesses the harvest. The belief is that the appearance of the wheat (colour, density, height) would predict what the crop in the following year would be like. In some regions, in addition to the Saint Lucy's Day, wheat is traditionally sown on Saint Barbara's Day, December 4, following a different process as well. The common goal, though, is for the Christmas wheat to grow tall and dense to be proudly presented on the Christmas table, and many people keep it until the New Year.

Although growing it should be a simple process, it seems that there are a few tricks to growing a fruitful, dense pot. That is one of the reasons why many Croatians decide to buy ready-made wheat a day or two before Christmas. Agronomist Sunčica Dombaj shared a few tips. She mentioned insufficient seed germination and growth in unfavorable conditions as the main cause for thin or low wheat. "It would be ideal to keep the wheat at a moderate temperature in the room by the window, that is, in a bright place, and not to overdo it with watering", she emphasized, adding that the wheat should be watered daily, but moderately, by spraying it with a sprayer or simply misting it with your hands soaked in water. Otherwise, the leaves will turn yellow and mold will catch on the wheat. It is important that the container in which you put the wheat is not too deep - some plant it on a plate.

How to plant your own Christmas wheat

Put a layer of garden soil in a shallow container and gently press the germinated wheat seeds in and spray daily. In addition to light, wheat also likes heat, but do not place it directly next to a heat source, radiator or stove. Wheat grows well on cotton wool - many people use this trick. Put a layer of cotton wool about one centimeter thick in a bowl, spray it with water and spread the grains of wheat over it. The method of care is the same as for wheat that is planted in soil. Planting wheat is a perfect activity to do with children, who will then eagerly monitor and follow the progress of the wheat throughout the 12 days before Christmas.

What should you pay particular attention to when planting wheat?

Wheat, regardless of whether it is planted on an earthen substrate or a cotton substrate, should not be sown too thickly, because then a lot of sprouts pop up and elongate in search of a place to grow.

After it germinates and starts to grow, how do you keep wheat green until the New Year?

Wheat's greatest ally in maintenance is moisture. Sunčica advises that instead of watering, wheat should be moistened by spraying and that the soil should not be allowed to dry out. Also, wheat should by no means be supplemented.

Did you know that you can eat the green part of wheat?

Many people grow wheat this way throughout the year. The reason for this is its health benefits in the daily diet. You can also use it in the preparation of your meals - simply cut the green part with scissors and put it in a salad or mix it in yogurt or some kind of drink.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

8 Reasons Croatia is the Best Place to Live in Europe

December 13, 2022 - Where is the best place to live in Europe? For this boy from Manchester, the answer is Croatia. Here are 8 reasons why.

How to describe the mystery of Croatia, beautiful but maddening, chilled but flawed? In our latest book, Croatia a Survival Kit for Foreigners, which I co-wrote with TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds, I describe Croatia as a mixture of Absurdistan, with the best lifestyle in Europe, with a sprinkling of Balkan insanity on top. I can't get enough of it.

Don't get me wrong, living full-time in Croatia is hard work, and as different from that two-week beach holiday as chalk is to cheese. There are many things which drive me nuts here, most notably the corruption and bureaucracy, but with a little mindset shift and a focus on the positive aspects of life, even they can be turned into part of the experience. Living in a perfect country would be very dull, and there is never a dull day in Croatia, that's for sure. 

So what is so special about Croatia that I claim it to be the best place to live in Europe? After 20 years, I honestly don't think I could live anywhere else. It is a very safe country, the safest I have lived in for sure, and you really can't beat the relaxed lifestyle, even if you have to work a little harder to make ends meet. 

Here are eight reasons why I think Croatia is the best place to live in Europe, the latest episode on my new YouTube channel, Paul Bradbury, Croatia and Balkans Expert. Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Croatia Expects: A Tiny Country, From Dream to Belief

December 13, 2022 - The atmosphere all over Croatia is electric as the Vatreni attempt to reach their second World Cup Final in a row, but there is a small difference from 2018 - dreaming has been replaced by belief. 

It is an incredible time to be in Croatia, and I doubt there is a country around the globe that has more passion than Croatia when it comes to football. As I posted in a recent video (below), in life and in death, Croats are the world champions of celebration. 

But this year's run to the World Cup Final seems a little different, to me at least, as the hope of the underdog of 2018 has been replaced with something else - belief. 

When I wrote the text for the Croatian National Tourist Board to accompany the promotional video featuring the World Cup stars last time, I called it Take a Tour of Champions in the Tiny Country Which Dared to Dream.

And what a dream it was! The young, tiny country of 4 million with the most passionate fans at Russia 2018 defied the odds again and again, eventually reaching the final itself, before being finally beaten 4-2 by France. 

An incredible 550,000 fans waited hours to line the streets of Zagreb to welcome their heroes home, and Croatia won the hearts of millions all over the globe for their efforts both on and off the pitch. 

Fast forward to 2022 and, although the Croatian team was arguably stronger than last time around, even though they only just qualified, the main hype surrounded the last hurrahs of Messi and Ronaldo, with Brazil the strong favourites. 

Things started inauspicously with a goalless draw with Morocco (not the terrible result it perhaps appeared at the time, given that Morocco beat both Spain and Portugal to reach the other semi-final with France). A thrashing of Canada, inspired perhaps by the Canadian coach's promise to 'F' with Croatia, was followed by another goalless draw with Belgium, which should have been a defeat - at least if Lukaku had known where the goal was.

And then the steel emerged. First Japan, and then favourites Brazil, were cast aside, both on penalties. A new hero, Dominik Livakovic, emerged and is being touted as the new Minister of Defence after his goalkeeping heroics, including an astonishing 4 penalty shoot-out saves. Livakovic is not the only one to attract the interest of the big clubs, with 20-year-old Josko Gvardiol one of the players of the tournament.

And how can one mention Croatia without their talisman Luka Modric, also playing his last World Cup? The spark that makes Croatia tick, Modric has been an inspiration for club and country for as long as we can remember, and he will be desperate to finish with a winning medal. Perhaps all the more so, as Croatian media report, that the final will take place on December 18, 31 years to the day since a 6-year-old Luka lost his beloved grandfather, with whom he used to herd goats, as he was murdered by Serbs in the Homeland War. 

'All' that stands in the way of Modric and co lifting the trophy is Messi's Argentina - a man on borrowed time and a mission of his own - and a potential repeat of the 2018 final, unless Morocco can pull off one more shock to become the first African team to reach the final.

Four years ago, that might have been a daunting task for the tiny country which dared to dream, but the 2022 Croatia team - and the country in general - are so full of belief, it would almost be a shock if Croatia did not go on and win. This Croatian team has shown guts, passion, precision and a never-say-die attitude. Someone told me that Croatia has only been ahead in 8% of the matches so far. 

And yet, here there are, on the cusp of history. It is not how much you are ahead during the match, but at the final whistle. 

Good luck to all my Croatian friends, it is sure to be one hell of a night. 

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Argentina Ends Croatia’s Hopes of 2022 World Cup Final (3-0)

December 13, 2022 - Argentina gained revenge on Croatia from the 2018 World Cup and won 3-0 for a spot in the 2022 World Cup final. Croatia will play the match for 3rd place on Saturday against the loser between France and Morocco in their semi-final tomorrow. 

The Croatia national team met Argentina in one of the biggest matches in Croatian football history - their second consecutive World Cup semi-final. The two teams met at Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday night. 

The last time the two teams met was four years ago. Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 in the group phase of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Croatia thus finished first in their group and Argentina in second. 

Croatia finished 2nd in their 2022 World Cup group after drawing 0-0 against Morocco in the first round, beating Canada 4-1 in the second round, and drawing 0-0 against Belgium, which was enough for the round of 16. Croatia beat Japan on penalties in their last-16 tie and knocked out favorites Brazil on penalties in the quarter-final. 

The winner tonight would play in the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday. Both teams had everything to play for - Croatia for Modrić and Argentina for Messi.

Tonight's match was refereed by Italian Daniele Orsato. 

Lineups 

Argentina - Martinez - Molina - Romero - Otamendi - Tagliafico - De Paul - Fernandez - Paredes - Mac Allister - Messi - Alvarez

Croatia - Livaković - Sosa - Gvardiol - Lovren - Juranović - Brozović - Kovačić - Modrić - Perišić - Pašalić - Kramarić

Match report

Croatia had the kickoff and the first possession of the match. Croatia calmly maintained that possession in the first 10 minutes, with one ball into the box from Perisic in the 5th minute. 

Croatia played quick one-twos up the pitch, creating space around the Argentina players. Modric fouled Mac Allister in the 13th minute on an Argentina attack. 

Lovren played a long ball to Pasalic in the 14th minute, which forced Argentina's defense to kick it out for a throw-in. A brilliant play up the right wing with Juranovic and Modric forced the ball out for Croatia's first corner in the 16th minute. 

Croatia was winning the most balls in contest compared to Argentina by the 18th minute. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick after Kovacic was fouled in the 19th minute. 

A dangerous attack by Argentina in the 22nd minute, fortunately, went out for a Croatia goal kick. 

Another Argentina attack in the 25th minute was cleared by Sosa, and Livakovic was forced to make his first save seconds later. 

A quick Croatia counter and a stunning move by Kovacic gave Croatia a foul outside of the box in the 27th minute. 

A quick Argentina counterattack followed, which Luka headed out for an Argentina throw-in. 

A Modric nutmeg on the right wing gave Croatia another brilliant attack. Perisic shot on goal but hit just over the crossbar. 

Another Argentina counterattack resulted in a penalty. Kovacic and Livakovic were both shown yellow cards. Messi scored for 1-0 Argentina in the 34th minute. 

Croatia won another corner in the 37th minute. Luka played it short, and Brozovic's cross was deflected off an Argentina player for another quick counter. Sosa failed to clear the ball properly in the penalty area, and Livakovic committed early. Alvarez turned it into a goal. Argentina was up 2-0 in the 39th minute. 

Argentina won a corner in the 42nd minute, which nearly went in for another goal. Livakovic punched out the ball after another close call for an Argentina throw-in. 

Croatia's best chance at goal was in the 45th minute. Luka's shot deflected off Argentina, and he played it to Juranovic, who sent the ball near post. 

The ref added four minutes of stoppage time. 

The first half ended 2-0 for Argentina. Croatia had 62% of possession in the first half but got caught on Argentina's quick counterattacks, resulting in two goals. 

Dalic made two subs at halftime. Sosa was subbed off for Orsic and Pasalic for Vlasic. 

A foul on Vlasic in the 47th minute was awarded to Croatia just outside the box. Modric sent the ball in but Martinez saved it. 

Dalic subbed off Brozovic for Petkovic in the 50th minute. Croatia was getting knocked off the ball but winning it back. Croatia had a good attack in the 53rd minute, but Petkovic failed to shoot when he should. Vlasic sent the ball into the box, but it went into Argentina's possession. 

Livakovic made an incredible save off a Messi shot in the 58th minute. 

Another free kick for Croatia was awarded on the left sideline in Argentina's half. Argentina subbed off Paredes for Martinez. 

Another great chance for Croatia came in the next minute, forcing Martinez to make a quick save in goal. 

Alvarez fouled Modric on a Croatia counterattack. Romero received a yellow card in the 68th minute. 

Messi was at his best in the 69th minute, outdribbling Gvardiol down the right, setting it up for Alvarez in the penalty area, who scored for 3-0 Argentina. 

Kramaric was subbed off for Livaja in the 72nd minute. 

A free kick for Croatia in the 73rd minute was taken by Perisic. It wasn't an easy save for Martinez. 

Argentina started making subs in the 74th minute. Alvarez for Dybala, and Palacios for De Paul. 

Orsic tried shooting far post in the 77th minute, but it went wide of the goal. This Croatia team just didn't have it today. 

Luka Modric was subbed off for Lovro Majer in the 81st minute. Dalic was trying to give the bench as much playing time as possible - it was the World Cup semi-final, after all. 

Messi missed an open chance in the 83rd minute.

Another chance for Croatia in the 85th minute was played out by the Argentina defense for a Croatia corner. Perisic flicked it back to Lovren, who missed an open goal. 

Majer had a good shot on goal in the 89th minute, which deflected into the hands of Martinez. 

The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia was given a corner in the first minute of stoppage time, which Majer hit into the Argentina defense. 

Kovacic shot with his let foot to end the match. Argentina will be going to the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday and Croatia will play the match for 3rd place on Satuday. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Harfa International School in Split Expanding, Adding Kindergarten, Elementary, High School

December 12, 2022 - More great news for those looking for international schooling options in Split, as Harfa International School announces an expansion of its services after a very successful start.  

Motivated by excellent feedback from the international audit, Harfa International School is expanding and will offer kindergarten, elementary school as well as high school education next fall!

Some say we can only dream of the Finnish education system. But that is not true anymore for children in Split. The address Osmih mediteranskih igara 2 is located right in the heart of Poljud, in the city of Split. That is where the third generation of elementary school students are being educated, at Harfa International School. As we already learned before, Harfa provides the kind of education we all wish for. A student-oriented education where a "one for all" rule is not applied, where the talents and skills of each child are monitored individually, and the teachers represent mentors, ensuring everyone reaches their full potential. Their own, unique potential.

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Curious about the news that Harfa is expanding and opening an international kindergarten as well as a high school alongside the current elementary school, we paid them a visit again. We wanted to find out more details and learn about how they achieve excellent academic results in a way that is so different from other schools.

- Yes, it is true that in addition to the elementary school, we are opening an international kindergarten as well as a high school. We are excited because we received excellent feedback during the visit from the international IB audit. Motivated by their encouragement, confirming that our methods are the right ones, starting the next school year, we are expanding. We follow the international IB Primary Years Program (PYP), balancing it with the Croatian curriculum. In addition to regular classes in the morning, our students have regularly scheduled lunch and two snacks, additional time for studying and writing homework, as well as additional workshops such as drama, chess, mental arithmetic, STEM workshops, music workshops, and individual workshops, depending on the needs. Our goal is to achieve learning outcomes in an interesting and student-oriented way. Our methods are based on inquiry-based teaching, research, projects and teamwork, hands-on learning, but above all, on building strong connections between students and teachers who serve as mentors, while students take responsibility for reaching the classroom goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual level. We teach them to understand the importance of life-long learning and to recognize the power of their responsibility in achieving all life goals, including school goals. – we learn this from the school principal Antonia Tomas.

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While listening to her explanations and the exciting news about spreading the school offer, we hear the students loudly calling out to their teacher. We find out that they are third-graders who do not allow the teacher to end the lesson until they are done with their plans for the day.

- See, this is the result of allowing children to be co-creators of the lesson plans. Every Monday morning, following the curriculum and the learning outcomes, they plan when and how they will learn about a certain unit. You can see their plan right there on that wall. This is what they have committed themselves to. What do you think; will they skip something? No way! No one wants to leave until the plan is fully executed. – explains the school principal.

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- It’s so inspiring seeing children from different cultures communicating fluently in two languages. As an international school, the official language of communication is English, but the children also learn Croatian. It is interesting to see foreigners wanting to learn the Croatian language with great interest and our children helping them in this. In addition, they have enough free time to play and communicate, and they acquire languages ​​very quickly. Seeing a child who recently came from abroad and now speaks Croatian fluently or a Croat who didn't speak English at all and now communicates in that language without any barriers is daily proof of how quickly children acquire knowledge. - explains Dubravka Šušnjara, a first-grade teacher who recently moved from Australia.

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We are interested in her experiences in Australia and in Croatia. Which one is better? But she just waves her hand and adds – This is really the center of the world. With Split as a city tailored for a balanced life and this kind of education, we didn't think twice. My husband and I decided to return after 12 years, and the main reason was precisely the fact that there was a school like this here. As I am a teacher myself, I also applied for an open position in the school this year. I am grateful that my child, as well as myself, have the opportunity to be a part of such a change in education. - concludes teacher Dubravka.

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We have already written about Harfa International School. What started as an enthusiastic project founded by Harfa - the publishing company, turned into a global example of excellent practice. During the preliminary application, they tell us, for the prestigious international "IB Primary Years Program (PYP)" which was planned only for the future, the international audit gave Harfa the highest marks and suggested entering the accreditation process immediately. This is how a small private school from Split became an international example of excellence in education.

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The person behind this inspiring story is Irena Orlović - a psycho-social counselor and one of the main protagonists of Mastercard's short documentary films FIVE, about female entrepreneurs who have changed the world. Irena was chosen as a representative for Europe, and her inspiring story from Croatia was followed by millions of viewers around the world. After 17 years in publishing books by the world's most famous authors in the sphere of children’s socio-emotional development, parenting, and mental health in general, through the award-winning web application Pametnica for the development of children's potential and series of educational workshops for parents, teachers, pedagogues... Irena has decided to turn her rich experience into a school in order to set an example that educational reform, in the best possible way, is very possible in practice.

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- Many refer to the successful "Finnish" model of education. - Irena tells us. - Some things are culturally determined, and some took years of work to change. Finland, too, carried out its reform more than 20 years ago at a time when it was clear that the same path was no longer sustainable. Some other models in the world can also be analyzed, and we can learn something from all of them. This is what we do at Harfa International School. We collect the best world practices, both scientific research about a child’s well-being, as well as best school practices, and we adapt them to our needs. The third generation is underway, and I can only say that we are very excited about the results we see every day.

We are often asked if the children in our school have grades. The grades exist, but the students are self-reflecting with the support of the teacher-mentor. I want to highlight that our world does not revolve around grades. Our world revolves around creating quality relationships between teachers and students, around strengthening that trust as a basis for everything else. At the end of the year, the children give their own opinion about which grade they deserve. Don't fall into the trap of thinking they are giving themselves the highest grades. They are very self-critical and their conclusions are rarely different from reality. This is how we teach them to take responsibility for their actions from an early age. Our goal is to encourage curiosity and develop a passion for learning through research, practical work, and projects, by connecting information with real-life situations. We prepare children for the future where they will be ready for all the challenges they will have to face, and this is the essence of education, isn’t it? – Irena Orlović ends her story seriously.

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We are interested in learning how long it takes for children to be able to give themselves an objective assessment.

- People do not function "at the press of a button!" Everything I mentioned earlier requires a lot of work and patience. And, of course, trust in teachers. I know it's hard to accept a different path when we have expectations that have been imprinted in our heads for generations. But, it is clear to all of us that we do not all have the same "settings". Someone will get to the destination in one way, others in a different way. The point is that everyone will reach their goal, which is the fulfillment of their full potential. And trust me, this will happen if they are offered the space and the right means to do so. - she explains.

While we are talking, children approach us with trays of food. Today, along with a salad, they have polenta and tomato sauce on the menu.

- We plan the menu in cooperation with nutritionists, but many children have already learned in their families that healthy is better. Try them! Offer them chocolate and an apple and let's see which one they will choose! - laughs Irena. We don't even need to check, we see that they would choose the healthy option. It is very clear that this school is trying its best to make the students fall in love with studying.

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- Yes, we want children to like learning. Our goal is to make inquiry learning and knowledge acquisition their passion. We do not want to instill dry facts in them because the brain remembers what is interesting and important. To some, it looks like we are just playing with the children, but science has proven that this way is more effective in the long run. Let's look around. Take a look at your own children. Do they remember better when they "learn by heart" out of a book or when you tell them an interesting story, play with them, do some research with them and connect information with real-life situations familiar to them? There isn't even much wisdom there. Changes in education only require a lot of self-motivation and an effort to connect with children in a way that is in line with their needs. Yes, the challenges of technology and its impact are not negligible, but wasn't that the case throughout various historical periods in times when changes were made? - explains Irena.

Through children’s laughter, we hear a barely perceptible echoing sound. Suddenly, silence. Irena quietly explains: - Children know when it's time to play and when it's time to concentrate and study. When they hear this vibrating bell, it's time to learn.

The drama workshop will start soon.

- Through drama, they develop presentation skills, face the fear of public speaking, practice self-confidence, memory, concentration... and many other things. To be ready for the future, we should start on time and without pressure, through the game. The same thing is with the other workshops. Chess, mental arithmetic, STEM workshops, music workshops, debates, mental health empowerment workshops, entrepreneurship workshops... each of these workshops is carefully designed to support the learning outcomes, but also the development of soft skills and knowledge needed to face the challenges of the future.

- I used to believe that the same and even better results could be achieved differently from what we had in our traditional education system. Now, I have no doubts about it at all. Three classes at Harfa International School prove that every day. The point of education is to get to know each child, what makes them happy and motivated, and to support them in that. Therefore, I decided that for the next school year, we will open a school center where we will follow our children on their life path from the age of 3 to 18. We are now in the process of opening a kindergarten and a high school, in addition to the existing elementary school according to our program. – explains Irena Orlović, and the slogan of her school is "School for the Future".

Learn more about Harfa International School on the official website.

 

Monday, 12 December 2022

One Particular Zagreb Receipt Attracts Attention on Social Media

December the 12th, 2022 - It's been quite some time since we've seen receipts and bills and the figures printed on them be the topic of endless social media debate, but with inflation continuing to bite, some believe certain establishments are using this unpleasant economic situation to their advantage. One Zagreb receipt has taken Facebook by storm today.

There are still those who, despite struggling to make ends meet month to month, still have money set aside to enjoy dining and drinking out. With the prices of raw materials rising and the energy crisis still causing tremendous issues when it comes to paying the bills for many establishments, it's only natural that a few kuna extra will appear on bills and receipts issued for food and drink. 

The post-pandemic period, accompanied by the dire situation in Ukraine and the inflationary pressures our bank accounts and pockets are all under, has seen those in the catering and hospitality sector try to earn money they lost back during pandemic-induced lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021. How many are actually taking advantage here, though? Some believe that many are using the situation in an underhanded way.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, under the heading ''I think every comment on this is redundant'' a photo of a Zagreb receipt has been doing the rounds on social media. According to that receipt, a mere cup of tea in that particular central city cafe costs more than 30 kuna, and a juice comes to more than 25 kuna.

For three cups of tea and two such juices, the clients paid 143.16 kuna, or, if we bother to convert into the currency we're set to introduce officially as of January the 1st, 2023 - 19 euros. It somehow sounds even higher when expressed in the bloc's single currency.

Could the justification for such high prices be the fact that the cafe is located in the very centre of Zagreb? According to the vast majority of comments - no, it cannot. As a central Zagreb resident myself, I can also say that there is very little justification for such high prices for very basic items and there are numerous cafes and pubs located in the very heart of the city where not even alcoholic beverages will come to such prices.

Are some establishment owners purely seeing an opportunity in this current climate of economic downturn and tighter belts? It's very likely, and this Zagreb receipt is likely going to be just one of many published on social media over the coming months.

For more, check out our news section.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Words Without Sound - A Brief Look at Croatian Sign Language

December the 12th, 2022 - Croatian sign language is the one language spoken in Croatia which of course has no sound to the words, but did you know that there's no clearly defined number of people living in Croatia who use it?

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje and Medjimurje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously. That goes without even mentioning much about old DalmatianZaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

There are known or at the very least educated guesses as to how many individuals speak most of the aforementioned languages. Of course, some, such as Istrian-Albanian, a form of Gheg (Geg) Albanian once spoken in Katun, are now extinct. Others, such as Istro-Romanian, are on UNESCO's severely endangered language list with very good reason. As stated, there is no firmly known number of people who use Croatian sign language, but it has been defined as an independent language system in and of itself. This means that it has its own rules surrounding grammar which have nothing to do with those used by hearing individuals.

Back in 2015, the Law on Croatian Sign Language and Other Communication Systems of Deaf-Blind Individuals in Croatia was passed, and now courses teaching this language are more or less commonplace in all larger Croatian cities. It is even taught as part of higher education, with university-level Croatian sign language being taught as different courses for undergraduate speech therapy students. This is mandatory.

Naturally, although their exact number remains unknown, the overwhelming majority of those capable and competent in Croatian sign language are members of the deaf or hard of hearing community living in Croatia, and the associations formed by and for them are some of the main bodies which hold classes and courses.

Some of those Croatian associations for the deaf and the deaf-blind are Savez gluhih i nagluhih grada Zagreba (The Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of the City of Zagreb), Dodir (Touch), Kazaliste, and audiovizualne umjetnosti i kultura Gluhih – DLAN (Theatre, audiovisual arts and the culture of the Deaf).

For more on Croatian language, dialects and subdialects spoken across the country, as well as this history of language in this country, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Rovinj Advent Concept Encompasses Tradition and Glamour

December the 12th, 2022 - The Rovinj advent concept is an embrace of both glamour and tradition for a festive season well spent by the sea in that particular popular Istrian town.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, sustainable development, prolonging the tourist season and increasing the quality of life of Rovinj's residents are among the main strategic goals with which the tourism sector plans to develop the town until the year 2030. 

Within the scope of all of that, they also incorporated the new Rovinj advent concept called "Christmas by the sea" that will come to life starting this weekend. The entire Rovinj advent offer and programme, in terms of decoration, the gourmet offer and overall programme is based on Rovinj's local traditions, with the main star of it all, the traditional Rovinj batana (a form of locally made vessel). The batana is a symbol of the local community, and it can be found in several locations across Rovinj.

For the first time, the Rovinj advent programme takes place in three locations - on Lungomare Plaza, a more modern version of advent will be held, then there is also the so-called the traditional advent being held in front of the Church of St. Euphemia, where a life size hand-made nativity scene has been set up, and the third location, a more ''native'' advent, on the main city square, will showcase what Rovinj has to offer in terms of local food and more.

The new Rovinj advent concept, packed with events throughout the month of December, was created through the cooperation and synergy of the city, the Maistra tourist company, the Rovinj Tourist Board, various other stakeholders, institutions and those from the hospitality sector, all coming together and participating in the organisation of the programme. The decorating concept was created in collaboration with the well-known academic painter, florist and interior designer Sasa Sekoranja.

During the second weekend in December on the Lungomare promenade at the foot of the Grand Park Hotel, all visitors will have the opportunity to taste some traditional Istrian products - Prodan truffles, Istrian prosciutto, Reginex bakery products and cakes, Agrolaguna wines, local cheeses, Japanese delicacies from the restaurant will be present in eight advent cottages.

In addition to the Rovinj advent cottages, various local restaurants have prepared a special advent menu which involves the tasting of Istrian wines and brandy. Numerous stores will offer an interesting assortment of clothes and shoes, niche perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery, fashion accessories, and well-known international and Croatian cult brands with special discounts included.

Three Maistra hotels from Rovinj, Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Lone and Adriatic, will all remain open for the festive season and for advent, which, like every year, will be decorated with attractive installations designed by Sasa Sekoranja. This time, unlike back during previous years, they've been inspired by the sea and motifs of local heritage. At the Hotel Lone, an advent offer of food and drinks, concerts and DJ performances every Friday and Saturday, wine tasting and live music in the Enoteka winter garden are expected.

It's worth noting that Rovinj was declared the destination of the year at the Days of Croatian Tourism in 2022, partly because the destination is being developed on the rich potential it has, such as autochthonousness, art and tradition, cultural heritage, and the tourist offer is adapted to the requirements of modern tourists in accordance with sustainable development and current travel and tourism trends.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Zagreb Advent Gems: Dagmar Meneghello's Art Collection

December 12, 2022 - The famous Croatian art collector exhibited part of her collection in her apartment at Krležin Gvozd in Zagreb. Every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. Dagmar Meneghello opens her home to all visitors who appreciate art.

Zagreb Advent, as they say at Večernji, received another must-visit cultural stop. The location is a private apartment at Krležin Gvozd 23 (on the second floor of which the Croatian author Miroslav Krleža lived until his death). The famous art collector Dagmar Meneghello returned to Zagreb after almost six decades of living in Palmižana on Hvar. She brought along the works of Zagreb painters that are part of her art collection. Following the theme of Advent and the joy that comes with it, she organised an Advent exhibition in her apartment that showcases the works of Šutej, Friščić, Eterović, and for the first time in Zagreb, Ivo Ćorković.

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The exhibition can be viewed every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. during Dagmar’s open house days. In Zagreb, the movement of collectors opening their apartments to the public to show off their art is quite a novelty. Dagmar Meneghello learned of such a lifestyle in Germany and now finds it to be normal and necessary.

Dagmar Meneghello's art collection has about 3,000 works. It was collected over half a century, during which hundreds of artists created and exhibited at Dagmar’s home in Palmižana. Her Palmižana home was often the first contact of foreign visitors, mostly sailors, with Croatian culture and art. For fifty years, she invited artists to a tiny island, a gallery at the end of the world.

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The works include numerous sculptors, from the great Kosta Angeli Radovani, Goldoni, Riba Lončarić, Kuzma Kovačić, Peruško Bogdanić to Petar Dolić and Petar Hranuelli, Alana Kajfeš, Vatroslav Kuliš, Bana Milenković, Toni Franović, Boris Demur, and Željko Jerman, to younger generations such as Paulina Jazvić, Koraljka Kovač, Nina Ivezić, Tisja Kljaković Braić. These days, numerous museums and institutions borrow and exhibit the collection.

Dagmar started her art journey at an early age while working as a journalist in Zagreb. Love took her to Palmižana, and now she started a foundation and is working to ensure that her luxurious collection gets a new permanent home.

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For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

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