Thursday, 21 April 2022

Destination Dubrovnik: Dean Kuchel, Digital Nomad, on the Power of Yes

April 21, 2022 - With less than two weeks to go until the Work.Place.Culture conference kicks off in Dubrovnik, TCN continues to present the elite lineup of speakers who, through their experiences and wisdom, will put the Pearl of the Adriatic on the digital nomad world map. Up next, a house favorite: Dean Kuchel on the power of yes and connecting your way around the world.

In the midst of a pandemic that to this day still has no end, cities like Dubrovnik stepped forward to change the way they positioned themselves in the tourism industry. There had to be something beyond the flights, the cruise ships, and the hundreds of thousands of tourists walking its ancient streets, and that is when Dubrovnik, in an exemplary union between the city administration and its tourism board, turned its attention to a group that in recent years has been revolutionizing the concept of remote work in Croatia: digital nomads.

Back in July 2020, the city and tourist board of Dubrovnik agreed to a proposal from Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News to put it on the map for digital nomads. Following Croatia’s first Digital Nomads conference in October 2020, the city was presented with a program for 2021 that would help attract digital nomads to visit, and stay, in the city. Tanja Polegubic, the founder of Saltwater, proposed a unique event - a digital nomad in residence program. A competition to select 10 nomads from around the world, who would then live in Dubrovnik for a month and collaborate on a plan to make the city more attractive to the digital nomad community. The program was promoted through Total Croatia News and drew global interest. The event came to life in April 2021 with the digital nomads in residence arriving in the city. Over four weeks, the Saltwater program team facilitated a series of workshops involving the visiting nomads, the city, the tourist board, and the local community.

work-place-culture-programme.JPG

This year, and to continue to show that Dubrovnik is on the way to being a hotspot for digital nomads, Saltwater Nomads, the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, the Digital Nomads Association Croatia (DNA Croatia), the Croatian National Tourist Board and Total Croatia News will hold the first Work.Place.Culture. conference from May 5 to 7 in Dubrovnik. Work.Place.Culture is the conference which brings work from anywhere to absolutely everywhere. Join remote professionals and destinations from around the world as they inspire a global workforce that has greater location flexibility than ever before, and the destinations which are reinventing to support them through policy, infrastructure, and community.

Most definitely, the soul of the conference (together with the magical city of Dubrovnik) will be its spectacular lineup of top speakers from the ever-evolving world of remote work. In recent weeks, TCN has shared a bit more about them, and this time it's Dean Kuchel's turn, a man who needs no introduction if you're talking about Croatia and digital nomads in the same sentence. Think of a country, and surely Dean has visited it. But the most important thing, beyond his surprising record of known countries, is his will and energy to promote the culture of remote work and the development of communities among digital nomads in each of those countries. Dean's first contact with Croatia as a destination for digital nomads was at the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week last year in June, where he drew everyone's attention with his life motto: ''Say yes, go explore!''. Later, he became Zagreb's digital nomad ambassador in September, and in the following months, he found time in his busy travel schedule to reconnect with Croatia, visiting Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Today, Dean shares with us his expectations ahead of the Work.Place.Culture conference.

Dean Kuchel and the Croatian digital nomad story seem to be intertwined. Great to see you coming back to conferences in both Dubrovnik and Zagreb in May and June. How long will you stay this time?

Between May and June, I plan to stay around a month in Croatia, I’m on a little bit of a tight schedule this summer trying to visit many friends and my family in order to celebrate my 40th birthday in June.

As a global traveler with a keen interest in Croatia, explain how the scene in Croatia has progressed since you spoke at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week less than a year ago.

I’ve always been super excited about everything that happened in the past 12 months, whether is the activities by the government, the tourism boards, and the private sector with examples such as Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, Digital Nomad Valley, and the Digital Nomad Association… so many things happening in the country. And in the past year, it just leaped forward to really position Croatia as one of the leading destinations for nomads and I think it works.

20211231_110737_1.jpg

We see Nomad Base planning to have its next event in Croatia, bringing 300 or 400 digital nomads. More and more friends and people in my network are starting to talk about Croatia as one of their destinations this year and next year, so definitely I can see the results. Croatia seems to be very structured now, so if a digital nomad chooses to go to Croatia, there are enough resources for them to find all the information, all the activities, and everything that happens there, and that’s beautiful. And you can also throw Cromads into the mix here!

You are a man who could build a community on the moon. How do you see the nomad community developing in Croatia?

The community in Croatia definitely evolved, I see a big step forward in the last year. I recently traveled to Zadar’s Digital Nomad Valley where I met a lot of groups of connected people, and this connection and community is what makes people stay much longer in Croatia, and it’s what makes many other people around the world consider Croatia as a destination.

With this being said, I think there’s still a lot of work to do in order to connect different communities within Croatia into one, single, unified community. From my side, my take on communities is that we need a single community that connects everyone rather than spread them and break them into smaller groups. I think this is where Croatia can improve a little bit and I wanna see more collaboration when it comes to communities, and between the different cities and regions in the country.

A few words about Dubrovnik, which is perhaps not the most obvious nomad destination, but it has worked hard to change that perception. Your thoughts?

It’s an interesting question because, if you asked me three months ago about Dubrovnik I would tell you, ‘‘yes, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it’s the perfect backdrop to host such an event’’, but for me, it was more of a place to come, visit, see the Old City, and move on. But then, three months ago, I spent a little over a week in Dubrovnik and I was able to discover a city that is really an amazing destination for nomads. It obviously offers all the beauties of an old city, the access to the ocean, the great weather almost all year long, and then I found that there are bars and cafes, and plenty of restaurants. I met with other nomads that spent time there and expats that have been staying in Dubrovnik for a long time.

20211230_141134_1.jpg

I think it is up and coming, and definitely hosting and holding this event in Dubrovnik would help to spread the word out that it’s not just a place for the touristic comfort, but also for nomads to come and spend the whole season.

You will be speaking at the Work. Place. Culture. conference in Dubrovnik in May. What is your topic, and what are you looking to get out of the conference?

I’m very excited about the Work. Place. Culture Conference in Dubrovnik! I’m happy to be back in Dubrovnik for the second time within five months, and I’m also excited since I’m taking a more active role this year, as a contribution to supporting Croatia’s effort to become a top digital nomad destination.

In regards to my talk and the topic, if you want to know what I’ll talk about, you should attend and you can do so onsite or online. Join us at the event, and I can just give away that the words ‘‘digital nomad lifestyle’’, ‘‘world travel’’, and ‘‘community-building’’ will be touring in the air.

I’m definitely looking forward to expanding my network, connecting with locals, connecting with digital nomads, and I really hope to inspire the local community and local businesses to see the benefit and the good that the digital nomads, both the people and the lifestyle, can bring to the country and help flourish in all different areas: business, tourism, or economy-wise. It’s something that is important for me and I hope to bring it with me to this conference.

Next steps for Croatia?

In one word: synergy. There’s a lot of beautiful effort being put by cities and regions, tourism boards, the different private ventures, and I would like to see a single ecosystem that connects all these efforts and companies altogether, that focuses on these efforts and reaches the goal of making Croatia a top destination for digital nomads. I think Croatia can really benefit from more collaboration between the different ventures, and this is where I think Croatia should head next.

And, as always with your crazy lifestyle, what is next for Dean Kuchel?

Right after the conference, I will head to the Nomad Base - Croatia meetup, and from there I’ll head to Tel Aviv, Israel, to spend some time with my family and friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. I’ll then attend and speak at the Bansko Nomad Fest in Bulgaria, and at some point, during the summer I’ll head back to Bali, Indonesia, where I have grown a few roots and building a house. A big, big change for the frequent traveler that I am.

You can learn more about and connect with Dean through his official website, Facebook, and Instagram.

You can buy your tickets for the conference in Dubrovnik through this link, and you can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Destination Dubrovnik: Meet Rowena Hennigan from RoRemote

April 13, 2022 - We are getting closer to the Work. Place. Culture. remote work conference in Dubrovnik, and TCN continues its look at the list of high-class international speakers who will be sharing their wisdom in the Pearl of the Adriatic. On this occasion, we talk with Rowena Hennigan, a remote work mentor and global thought leader who will introduce us to the importance of community and human connection in the constantly evolving world of remote work.

A busy season for Croatia's digital nomad story is about to begin. Last year's highlights included the introduction of the digital nomad permit on January 1, 2021, and destinations such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik attracted global interest with award-winning events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence project.

Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik will continue their push to position themselves in the market in 2022, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2022 set to take place in June, and a news conference before that in Dubrovnik, as previously reported on TCN: Work. Place. Culture.

Work.Place.Culture is the conference which brings work from anywhere to absolutely everywhere. Join remote professionals and destinations from around the world as they inspire a global workforce that has greater location flexibility than ever before, and the destinations which are reinventing to support them through policy, infrastructure, and community.

20220404-WPC-Speakers-LinkedIn-1104x736-Win-A-Workatio.png

Additionally, as part of the Work.Place.Culture Conference, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is launching its official workation program pilot, in conjunction with Saltwater and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. The winning team will enjoy a 1-week stay (between 1 and 9 May 2022) at the 5 Star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik and have the chance to partake in a specialty workshop – strategy planning, team building, wellbeing, and leadership are among the options available. The all-star team will also present at the Work. Place. Culture. Conference on 5-7 May 2022. Applications are open until this Friday, April 15! Click HERE to apply.

Total Croatia News continues to present the elite lineup for the Work. Place. Culture., this time with Rowena Hennigan. A family-related epiphany introduced her to the wonderful world of remote work, and today Rowena is recognized as a global thought leader. ''Remote work has enabled me to live flexibly, work from anywhere, travel extensively and find work-life balance. I relish in being an advocate and a leader on the education and skills needed for effective remote work practices.'', says Rowena. Today, Rowena has been able to use her experience working and traveling to identify the key factors that help form the right discipline to live as a digital nomad, and as a published academic author and researcher, she knows exactly how to transfer this knowledge to all those seeking to educate themselves on remote working skills.

You are recognised as a global thought leader in the field of remote work. Tell us firstly about your personal journey and how you achieved your current lifestyle. 

Back in 2015, when myself and my young family were living in Dublin, my daughter developed chronic childhood asthma and life was tough. Luckily, as I returned to work after maternity leave both my employers at the time allowed me to work flexibly and remotely. That was when my partner and I had the epiphany: if we could work remotely in Ireland, why not somewhere with a better climate to support our daughters' health? We took the decision to move to Zaragoza in Spain and keep our lifestyle as mobile and flexible as possible. We are now a location-independent family, with a base in Zaragoza, but nomading for short periods in other locations, such as France, Italy, Vietnam, Indonesia, parts of Spain, Gran Canaria and Portugal. We combine travel with work and we are mainly “slowmads”, meaning we work and travel at a slow pace in a certain region.

Profile_Rowena.jpg

You are an advocate and leader on the education and skills required for effective remote work practices. What would you say are the 3 key skills required to develop this new reality?

First, self-management and self-leadership; from conscientiousness to self-discipline, remote workers act independently and need the self-regulation skills to make that a success. Second, communication & interpersonal skills; the art of effective communication is vital for remote working, alongside the ability to make and maintain strong relationships in a virtual environment. And third, teamwork & virtual collaboration skills; knowing how to work and collaborate efficiently in a virtual team. 

You are also an academic. How much has the future of work entered academia, and what role does academia have to play in its development?

As an industry academic, I have enjoyed seeing the two worlds of industry and academia getting more closely aligned in recent times. As various evidence-based research and insights are widely distributed amongst the corporate community and learnings are shared. However, more cooperation and collaboration is needed between these two worlds.

rowena.png

Your prognosis on where all this is going. How do you see the global work landscape in 5 years?

Looking into my crystal ball, I see 3 key factors:

  1. Individual worker well being, needs and empowerment will be a key focus as knowledge workers demand more life-work-integration, well-being support and options for asynchronous work from organisations.
  2. Work from (almost) anywhere will become more prevalent, as the infrastructure for true Remote Work is further established and supported eg. the growth of EOR (Employer of Record) like Remote.com and also supporting services such as insurance, from SafetyWing.com.
  3. Hosting effective in-person events and meet-ups will be a new skill and talent area. As more teams work remotely, further emphasis will be put on the in-person time and its quality, leading to an increased emphasis on frequency, location, activities and social interactions.

And so to the Dubrovnik Work. Place. Culture. conference. Why does it appeal to you, what will you be speaking about, and what do you hope to get from your time in Dubrovnik?

Croatia’s efforts and innovation in the Digital Nomad space have been on my radar for a few years now! I am delighted to be able to visit in person and see the ecosystem for myself, taking the opportunity to learn from the wonderful team there.

My keynote will focus on the importance of community and human connection, to support any successful digital nomad and remote worker destination.

 

You obviously follow global trends in remote work. How do you assess Croatia's efforts so far, and what does it need to do to move things forward?

Firstly, what has been achieved so far needs to be recognised, as the Croatian digital nomad visa has only been active since January 2021. Few people appreciate the massive bureaucratic and administrative hurdles regions have surpassed to achieve and launch nomad and residency programs in recent times. So I applaud those efforts.

The future is nomadic so Croatia should continue to break down administrative barriers and proactively understand the needs of nomads that visit the Country.  Listen, learn and act on their guidance so that it is a win-win relationship.

You can learn more about and connect with Rowena through her official website, RoRemote, or through LinkedIn.

If you have not yet registered your team to participate in a luxury workation in Dubrovnik, you can do so through this LINK. Applications are until this Friday the 15th!

You can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Destination Dubrovnik: Meet Sarah Hawley from Growmotely

April 12, 2022 - With just under a month to go until the innovative Work. Place. Culture. remote work conference in Dubrovnik, TCN continues its look at the list of high-class international speakers who will be sharing their wisdom in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Up next, we talk with Sarah Hawley, who recently founded Growmotely, the world's first remote work marketplace, placing professionals into long-term and full-time positions at companies they love.

A busy season for Croatia's digital nomad story is about to begin. Last year's highlights included the introduction of the digital nomad permit on January 1, 2021, and destinations such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik attracted global interest with award-winning events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence project.

Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik will continue their push to position themselves in the market in 2022, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2022 set to take place in June, and a news conference before that in Dubrovnik, as previously reported on TCN: Work. Place. Culture.

Work.Place.Culture is the conference which brings work from anywhere to absolutely everywhere. Join remote professionals and destinations from around the world as they inspire a global workforce that has greater location flexibility than ever before, and the destinations which are reinventing to support them through policy, infrastructure, and community.

20220404-WPC-Speakers-LinkedIn-1104x736-Win-A-Workatio.png

Additionally, as part of the Work.Place.Culture Conference, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is launching its official workation program pilot, in conjunction with Saltwater and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. The winning team will enjoy a 1-week stay (between 1 and 9 May 2022) at the 5 Star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik and have the chance to partake in a specialty workshop – strategy planning, team building, wellbeing, and leadership are among the options available. The all-star team will also present at the Work. Place. Culture. Conference on 5-7 May 2022. Applications are open until this Friday, April 15! Click HERE to apply.

Total Croatia News continues to present the elite lineup for the Work. Place. Culture., this time with Sarah Hawley. Sarah launched the Growmotely platform during the pandemic, with the goal of connecting professionals with their dream jobs at companies they love, and to date, Growmotely has already placed 100 professionals in remote jobs that will help them find the balance they seek between travel and professional development. Sarah will be one of the ambassadors at the Work.Place.Culture Conference and she will share all of her wisdom regarding the evolution of work culture with the attendees.

Just reading the About Us page on your personal website put a smile on my face. You clearly are in a great personal space at the moment. Tell us about that and the journey to get there.

Ah thank you! I do have a wonderful life (filled with all the usual ups and downs related to being human!) and I'd say I've very intentionally created it. In 2014, I decided to turn all my businesses remote and move to the USA from Australia. I spent most years pre-pandemic traveling for 8+ months, and built a large global community. During the pandemic I met my now husband, and had a baby (along with launching Growmotely!) so there were lots of very shiny silver linings for me during this time.

sarah1_1.jpg

Your new project is called Growmotely, which launched about a year ago. Introduce it and tell us how it is going.

Growmotely is the world's first remote work marketplace, placing professionals into long term and full-time positions at companies they love. We firmly rooted in culture-matching and helping candidate and companies find alignment and culture fit. We're a community co-creating the future of work together, and it's an incredible, passion-fueled journey. We're currently crowdfunding, which is also very exciting to be providing deeper ways for our community to be a part of building this together, investment starts at just $150.

growmotely.png

Interestingly, you say that you have moved away from traditional advertising in favour of community generated PR, an interesting move. How is that working?

So well! It took us just three months to be growing organically at the same rate as we were previously having to pay for growth. We feel really proud of our conviction in making a tough decision, and staying true to our values and integrity. Our community is our top priority, and growing from such a strong core of committed professionals is incredibly rewarding.

The concept of work is clearly changing rapidly. What advice do you have for people who are interested in exploring more, but are a little afraid to take the leap?

In this case, I promise you... the grass IS greener on the other side! While it may seem scary at first to step into the new world of work, you won't look back. The freedom to build your lifestyle exactly how you'd like it, to have the freedom to move around and travel, and to work with a globally diverse group of people everyday is worth overcoming any lingering fears!

sarah2_1.jpg

How many job placements have you achieved so far at Growmotely, and do you have a favourite story?

To date we've placed almost 100 professionals (not including our own team) into meaningful, remote work at companies they love. Just last week two sisters from Nigeria were placed into (different) companies in the same week! Seeing two women, sisters, who were committed to creating a better life for themselves, go on that journey together and support each other was really powerful, and the fact the both received offers within a matter of days felt like divine timing.   

One of your aims is to visit every country in the world. How is that going, and is Croatia already on the list?

I've already visited Croatia, yes! However VERY excited to return. I'm at around 60 right now, and the past couple of years definitely slowed my pace. I also have a one year old now, so it might continue to evolve at a slower pace, however life is long and I'm excited to continue on this adventure.

And so to the Dubrovnik Work. Place. Culture. conference. Why does it appeal to you, what will you be speaking about, and what do you hope to get from your time in Dubrovnik?

I'm excited Croatia understands the importance of the shifts work has made, and are making such a beautiful effort and intention to welcome people in and open up this conversation for a more integrated work and life experience. I'll be sharing my own experiences, specifically how remote work opened up for me a path into conscious leadership. I'll share with our attendees how work culture is evolving, and how to step into a more conscious leadership space, turning our organizations into vehicles for transformational healing, growth and evolution for the people we work with.

sarah3_1.jpg

You obviously follow global trends in remote work. How do you assess Croatia's efforts so far, and what does it need to do to move things forward?

Croatia seems truly invested in welcoming nomads and building a thriving hotspot for global workers to come and experience Croatian life. I'm excited to watch how this evolves. From our perspective, work is being uncoupled from nation-state, and in effect becoming more simplified. It's my hope we can move toward a much simpler regulatory environment for both workers, and small businesses, allowing individuals to personally arrange their own taxes and companies to simply engage people without having so much local legislation to comply with.

Sarah's new book Conscious Leadership is available now. You can listen it FREE on Audible.

If you have not yet registered your team to participate in a luxury workation in Dubrovnik, you can do so through this LINK. Applications are until this Friday the 15th!

You can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 4 April 2022

About 'Work.Place.Culture.' in Dubrovnik 5-7 May, Early Bird Closes Tonight at Midnight

April 4, 2022 - Ahead of the upcoming Work.Place.Culture conference in Dubrovnik, organizer Tanja Polegubić of Saltwater Nomads shares more details about an event that continues to establish the Pearl of the Adriatic as a mecca for remote work. The sale of early bird tickets ends today at midnight.

All nomadic roads lead to Dubrovnik, and you are embarking on your third event in the Pearl of the Adriatic, after Croatia's first-ever nomad conference in October 2020, and the award-winning Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence program. Before we get to the event, why Dubrovnik (which was not a perceived nomad destination), and why do you keep coming back?

There’s an Instagram video by Goran Visnjic which shows exactly why I keep coming back - I even drive around twice, for double the thrill.  

Like everything, the people. It’s so easy to work with the Tourist Board and City; this can be rare in Croatia. Also - the vision to shift from over-tourism. I freely admit I avoided the city in the peak of summer, and this is part of multiple steps to address this for future generations. I’m really fortunate that I can say I played a small part in the reinvention story of such an iconic destination, as it builds in sustainable measures in tourism. Also, see video above. 

Defining tangible results in a sector where little data is collected (nobody registers as a digital nomad) are hard to quantify. That there has been a perception change about Dubrovnik is evident when comparing British media stories from 2017 (The Times using Dubrovnik as a poster child for overtourism v. The Guardian in 2021 with a Dubrovnik leading image for a feature on digital nomad visas). How else do you quantify progress?

In the original pitch to the city, there was a quote from a 2017 NomadList user saying “nice place to visit, but only for a few days” with very little mention of Dubrovnik - this review was in 2020. Fast forward to 5 years now, and for example, a Dubrovnik Digital Nomads Dubrovnik Facebook group I started nears 700 members. And we know the average number of monthly digital nomads in Dubrovnik, according to Nomad List, is several hundred - and all the graphs for Croatia have a steep upward trajectory. Following this, the way to see the rise will be in long-stay occupancy and related businesses remaining open. 

Your last event in the city a year ago, Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence, has already picked up a couple of international awards. Tell us a little about the impact that it has had on the city's thinking and strategy.

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program really highlighted the areas to focus on, and the City and Tourist Board are implementing these with ‘quick wins’ and longer-term goals. The workation and conference were part of those recommendations - the momentum is strong, and it’s a strategic approach.

And so to 2022. Saltwater Nomads is teaming up once again with Dubrovnik for another innovative conference called Work. Place. Culture. Tell us about the conference and what it is trying to achieve.

Following the work from home shift arising from global lockdowns, the greatest shift right now is the return to the office for millions of people - so, what does something like hybrid look like? If you don’t want to go to a physical office again - how do you champion this change internally, or as it has been popularly coined, do you join ‘The Great Resignation’? This conference brings this thinking - and leaders in their field with very close insights to share this information. It also allows destinations to open up their doors to raise awareness to the ready-to-work-from-anywhere crowd, while also learning about expectations and shaping their thinking as they craft a revamped offer- with so many countries now offering a digital nomad visa, having a digital nomad offer for tourism is going to be part of the furniture. As the name implies, it brings together work and place - with aspects of culture for both.

Who is it aimed at, and why should they come?

Those in the HR or remote space. Especially anyone interested in the latest data and trends. It’s a very interactive program design, including netwalking on the Old Town walls as part of the program, and several outdoor sessions - from nature park islands to medieval replica sailing ships. Also, any digital nomads in Croatia who ultimately want to visit Dubrovnik - this is a great opportunity to explore the city in great company, and also - anyone considering a workation.

The speakers list is being finalised, but can you give us a teaser?

We’ve now started sharing who is joining us, and we have some real ‘heavyweights’. Aaron McEwan, who was recently interviewed by TCN, will cover Radical Flexibility. We have 3 of LinkedIn’s Top 10 voices in Remote Work coming in person. Plus digital nomads and some exciting stories from destinations, which we’ll also share in coming weeks.  

As one of the pioneers of the cowork revolution in Croatia, co-organiser of the Dubrovnik events, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, and co-founder of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, you seem to be at the heart of many of the remote work initiatives driving Croatia forward. How do you see progress, and what are the key things missing which would help accelerate Croatia's path to become a major player in this exciting sector in the future?

Our DNA Croatia Reflection Day was a really positive way to start the year, to look back but also forward - and the uptake from all regions of Croatia is a sign of momentum and strength.

I would say budget - financial investment, is missing. When you look at places like Lisbon paying Web Summit $10million a year, per year, for a decade, you realise just how different a playing field we’re on. What we’ve done is remarkable, and the destinations are attractive - there’s not much effort needed to convince people to come- but I can only imagine what could be achieved, and also we know the numbers and average spend of nomads, so there is a case to increase investment in this area. Read: public support is missing in most places. Hopefully, this changes.

Early Bird tickets are available until today at midnight and can be booked via the official website.

You can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Digital Nomads Are an Interesting Niche for Croatian Tourism, Says Minister

February 15, 2022 - Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac talked in Buzet with Mayor Damir Kajin about the importance of uniting tourist communities and the development and potential of year-round tourism with an emphasis on digital nomads, who increasingly recognize the interior of Istria as an ideal destination for their stay.

Stating that the focus during the talks was on the importance of uniting tourist communities, which Istria quickly recognized as important, Minister Brnjac said that tourist unions have the opportunity to use funds more efficiently, but also to better manage tourist destinations, reports Index.hr

"In this way, we contribute not only to a stronger recognition of tourist destinations but also to the creation of a system of sustainable and resilient tourism, which is important to all of us," said Minister Nikolina Brnjac.

Development of tourism products

She states that in the last two years the association of tourist boards has reduced their number at the level of cities and municipalities and that in 2022 more than 12 million kuna will be available from the Fund for United Tourist Boards for projects of joint tourist boards.

She reminded that back in 1997 the tourist boards of the City of Pazin, the municipalities of Sveti Lovreč, Cerovlje, Gračišće, Karojba, Lupoglav, Sveti Petar u Šumi, Pićan, and Tinjan formally united under the name "Central Istria" and the slogan "Authentic Istria", and they were recently joined on a project basis by the tourist boards of Buzet, Barban, Žminj, Svetvincenat, and Kanfanar.

The goal is the joint implementation of one or more activities aimed at developing a tourist product and promoting destinations in the segment of enogastronomy, active tourism, and cultural, historical, and natural attractions.

Digital nomads

The Minister also referred to digital nomadism as an interesting niche for Croatian tourism because nomads are not seasonal, but year-round guests and their interests are diverse and not necessarily related to the sea and the sun. 

At today's meeting in Buzet, they also discussed the importance of developing sustainable, year-round tourism, the new Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030, and the possibilities of co-financing projects from the mechanisms of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. 

As it was heard today, in the County of Istria in the previous part of 2022 there were 115 percent more arrivals and 71 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2021, and compared to the same period in 2019, there were 5 percent more arrivals and 13 percent more overnight stays.

In Buzet, 115 percent more arrivals and 71 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2021, and 5 percent more arrivals and 13 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2019.

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 31 January 2022

New Campaign: Digital Nomads in Pazin Desired to Extend Season

January 31, 2022 - The Central Istria Tourist Board director has revealed that digital nomads in Pazin are the best way to extend the season, with many renters showing interest in advertising their accommodations. 

Villas with swimming pools or holiday homes in central Istria have been a hit for years now. However, Croatia's largest peninsula wants to bring their popular accommodations closer to digital nomads, reports Jutarnji List.

Following the example of larger Croatian cities, the Central Istria Tourist Board recently launched the campaign "Live and work in Central Istria," which wants to attract digital nomads to Pazin and its surroundings this year. According to the Tourist Board director, Sanja Kantaruti, about 30 renters have already shown interest in hosting digital nomads who would extend their season. But why should digital nomads come to Pazin and its surroundings outside of summer?

"Facilities in central Istria operate throughout the year - from restaurants to museums and other facilities. We are constantly looking for ways to extend the season and become a year-round destination. Very often people who come on holiday to Istria also work. On the other hand, central Istria is different from the already established destinations of digital nomads, such as Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik," Kantaruti believes.

He adds that they could be attractive because they are not larger and busier environments. That is why they recently held a conference for all tourism workers and especially explained to renters what digital nomads are looking for - above all, a comfortable place to work.

"Every day, new landlords contact us who would like to join the project. The only problem so far is that the prices of our villas and holiday homes are quite high even out of season, and yet this is a long-term lease. We are also cooperating with our development agency Srce Istre in Pazin. They equipped the co-working space and organized gatherings. And that attracts digital nomads."

Therefore, Kantaruti expects significant interest, as was the good interest of visitors to several gastronomic events out of season. 

Namely, in the winter months, from November 1 to March 1, the number of overnight stays in central Istria increased! In 2016 and 2017, there were 4502 overnight stays and 6180 in 2019. However, they believe that various events can achieve more than that.

"This winter, we had the 'We love winter while there is a hood' event, now in February, the Days of Honey delicacies begin. On the weekends, restaurants and taverns are full, and even the caterers told me that they had to turn people away because there is simply no space," says the Tourist Board director.

The Central Istria Tourist Board was the first to function on the principle of an association. These associations of smaller and unprofitable tourist boards have been discussed in Croatia for years to be efficient and reduce costs. But now, most of them are deciding on a project association, which would be the first step towards the formal tourist board. The Central Istria Tourist Board includes Pazin and eight surrounding municipalities - Cerovlje, Gračišće, Karojba, Lupoglav, Pićan, Tinjan, Sveti Petar u Šumi, and Sveti Lovreč. Although it seemed complicated at first due to different political options in other municipalities, it proved to be successful. 

Thus, last year, they expanded their cooperation and teamed up with nearby Buzet, Barban, Žminj, Kanfanar, and Svetvinčenat. They worked together to promote enogastronomy and came out with a new promotional video, "Authentic Istria - Good mood / Good food," directed and produced by the Labin company Level 52. It will first be promoted on the domestic market, the second most important after Germany.

"We were founded in 2007, and in 2020 we joined the project. There are 14 municipalities and cities in it. We are the coordinator of all activities, and we have invited other tourist boards, those from the surrounding area, to join us because we have the same product. Tourists are not interested in the boundaries of the municipality. So this is the question for mayors and mayors. Some have already shown interest, but that remains to be seen. This year, all of us in the tourist boards are expecting changes," Kantaruti points out.

However, central Istria will inevitably see good results this year. The first significant wave of tourists is expected for Easter.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Monday, 13 December 2021

A Jolly Good Trip: Digital Nomads Discover Zagreb County

TCN joins a merry band of digital nomads on a tour of Zagreb County, discovering some of the fine things the region has to offer

Digital nomads residing in Zagreb got together to recap the year at the Zagreb Digital Nomad Jolly WrapUp event that took place last week.

After the opening night hangout and the panel that followed the next day, a merry band of digital nomads set off on tour of Zagreb County on Saturday, December 11th. Sure, Advent in Zagreb might be the star of the show, but there’s plenty to see and do around the Croatian capital: the plan for the day promised nice views, cake, dinner and wine. Of course we tagged along - to the bus we go!

ZDNJWU_21_19-min.jpg

It took a whole five minutes for the sleepy crowd to perk up thanks to James who ingeniously brought along three bottles of rakija, all different kinds at that. Many thanks, kind sir! The goods were generously passed around the bus and we quickly got to chatting - it was looking out to be a jolly good trip indeed.

First stop - Medvedgrad, a 13th century castle perched on the southern slope of Medvednica mountain. The medieval fortress solemnly stands guard over the city of Zagreb, offering a spectacular view over the capital and its surroundings.

IMG_20211211_122133-min.jpg

Left to ruin for hundreds of years, the castle was restored a few decades ago, with the most recent addition being an educational visitor centre completed in 2020. By a stroke of luck, Medvedgrad suffered no damage in the devastating earthquakes that hit the area last year.

IMG_20211211_115318-min.jpg

The new visitor centre is a work of art - more on that coming soon in a separate feature. Housed in the south tower and two palaces, several sleek exhibits unveil the secrets of Medvedgrad: medieval history, legends and mysteries, nature and wildlife, all superbly presented through a series of interactive displays. We had loads of fun exploring the castle grounds and admired the winter landscape from the top of the tower. 

IMG_20211211_120814-min.jpg

 

On to Samobor, a charming little town located a 10 minute drive from the city of Zagreb. The town is known for the lively traditional carnival (Fašnik) that takes place in February, but also for its artisans and craftspeople manufacturing various goods and souvenirs such as the licitar hearts.

It was too cold a day for any ambitious sightseeing and we were perfectly happy to get acquainted with our destination in a different way: feasting on kremšnita, the iconic custard cream cake Samobor is famous for.

IMG_20211211_135322_2-min.jpg

We gathered at the Livadić cafe on the main square for a generous serving of kremšnita and coffee to warm up before the last leg of the tour.

ZDNJWU_21_28-min.jpg

And what a finale it was: an early dinner and wine tasting at the Jagunić winery, a family-run establishment and part of the wine road on Plešivica hill. We got there just in time to see the sun set over the rolling hills - quite a scenic backdrop even in the middle of December, and I can only imagine how sublime the view gets in spring when the entire landscape is in bloom.

ZDNJWU_21_31-min.jpg

It was evident how much love and care goes into everything the Jagunić family does, from grape growing and winemaking to hosting guests in their restaurant. We got a taste of the region’s traditional cuisine with a wonderful four course meal, each course paired with a different Jagunić wine.

ZDNJWU_21_32-min.jpg

The family predominantly produces sparkling wines, as well as whites and amber orange wines. They’re made from several grape varieties grown in their own vineyards. As our host explained during his warm welcome speech, their approach to winemaking starts with the soil and ends at the table; they control every step of the process.

ZDNJWU_21_37-min.jpg

Genuine hospitality and a superb eno-gastro experience. It’s a spot not to miss - pair it with a visit to Samobor or the nearby Jastrebarsko town and you have yourself a fantastic day trip. We certainly enjoyed discovering some of the fine things Zagreb County has to offer - thanks for having us, and until next time!

 

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad: When Cro-Made Beats Store-Bought

December 7, 2021 - Abundant natural resources and a variety of locally-made products are Croatia’s secret to healthy living.

Before arriving in Croatia, I was traveling in many countries learning about wellness practices in different parts of the world. I’m interested in how people think about their wellbeing and what role culture plays. From temazcal in Mexico to a curandera in Colombia, Reiki in Japan, and more, I experienced a variety of indigenous modalities.

Once here, I looked for Croatia’s offer beyond the popular Mediterranean diet and the outdoor lifestyle. Initially, nothing seemed exceptional, but over time I noticed a pattern. Nature blessed Croatia with abundant resources and people are adept at cultivating them and producing goods. I’m talking about food, wine, rakija, and herbal, beauty, and medicinal products. It’s a way of life that a surprising number of people embrace; usually for personal/family use and often as a side hustle. While I can talk long about the (delicious) consumables, the plant-based treatments are equally intriguing.

Plant products

Hvar’s annual lavender festival was my introduction to Croatia’s natural, homemade products and the women who make them. Kantarion (St. John's Wort), smilje (immortelle), nevin (calendula), and of course lavanda (lavender) grow wild here and they’re main ingredients in various creams, balms, lotions, oils, and soaps. Numerous healing/soothing/preventative benefits can be derived from these plants. Commercial products containing these ingredients are sold around the world, but here you can find them made in kitchens and backyards—fresh, clean, and devoid of additives, preservatives, and unpronounceable chemical components.

02_CBurkhardt_IMG_6542_2_1.jpg

Grapes grow abundantly near the Adriatic coast. The climate provides unique characteristics that help Croatian wines routinely win awards in international competitions.

What’s the big deal, you may ask? For starters, a lot of women know the plants here—where to find them, how to work with them, and how they keep the body and skin in good working order. Their healing remedies and beauty tonics are in the family medicine cabinet. By the way, have you noticed how many Croatian women have beautiful, supple skin? That brings me to the next point—these things work.

Here are two women with very different stories and motivations for getting into plants.

Hag Made

03_CBurkhardt_5971_1.jpg

Ivana Magdalenić with some of her products at Hvar’s annual lavender festival.

Ivana Magdalenić made her first remedy eight years ago to help a friend with a foot injury. After lots of research and tinkering with a recipe, she found the right mixture that healed her friend’s wound. Ivana realized she had a knack for working with plants and she went on to create a natural product line that treats a range of issues—from acne to burns, wounds, scars, psoriasis, wrinkles, joint pain, and more.

04_CBurkhardt_IMG_8458-2_1.jpg

Ivana sells her complete line of Hag-Made products at her shop in Stari Grad, Hvar.

Her company name, Hag Made, is a charming wordplay on hand-made and was inspired by a dream about witches brewing over a cauldron. In this narrative, Ivana is a “good witch” who creates healing potions from the heart. I used her Kantarion Plus on some acute burns and within a few days I stared at my skin in disbelief at the marked difference in appearance along with the pain relief. Her Smilje cream gave my skin that Cro dewiness overnight.

06_CBurkhardt_IMG_8485_1.jpg

Hag-Made Kantarion Plus has strong anti-inflammatory properties and worked miracles on the author’s badly burned skin.

Everything Ivana uses grows naturally on Hvar, where she’s from, and she knows the difference between a plant that comes from the south side of the island where the sun is more intense versus plants on the north side. It’s an important distinction because product quality and effectiveness are priorities; nothing is sold without being tested. She’s part artist, musician, inventor, and free spirit who seems to have a special connection to the earth’s energy, which undoubtedly guides her business.

05_CBurkhardt_IMG_8494_1.jpeg

Ivana in her shop, near the door leading to the outdoor garden where she enjoys coffee and the company of friends.

Grandma Ruža

07_CBurkhardt_IMG_2683_2_1.jpg

Grandma Ruža’s childhood house in Gustirna, near Trogir.

Conversations about healing often include somebody’s grandmother and Grandma Ruža is a queen. She’s been making oils and creams with kantarion, smilje, and nevin (calendula) for decades. She administers these for sunscreen, sunburn, wounds, hemorrhoids, cuts… for anything, she tells me. She’s been known to pan-fry dried chamomile flowers in olive oil to make chest wraps for reducing colds and inflammation, and she brews tea from various herbs to improve assorted ailments. To relieve her rheumatism, Grandma Ruža visits a secret location on Šolta where she smears the black mud on her entire body and face; home-made rakija infused with herbs helps too. Funny.

08_CBurkhardt_IMG_2668-_1_.jpg

Grandma Ruža with a picture of her mother.

Her range of knowledge comes from life experience. Growing up at the end of World War II in the countryside near Trogir, people in the villages survived off agriculture. She was on the front line with her mother for handling plants and animals and producing a long list of food—meat, cheese, vegetables, oils, herbs, wine, and brandy. When Grandma Ruža quit school at age 10 to work and help take care of the family, her hands-on education on plant medicine began too.

09_CBurkhardt_IMG_2690_2_1.jpg

Grandma Ruža cleaning up in the yard around her childhood home.

She regularly picked sage, immortelle, and wormwood, and tree fruits including oskoruša (used as medicinal tea for stomachaches and constipation) and maginje (a Croatian “strawberry” containing high amounts of vitamin C and dietary fiber)—some of the more direct healing plants. Today, she’s still going strong and the family still benefits from her preparations.

10_CBurkhardt_IMG_2737_1.jpg

Recycled containers come in handy for Grandma Ruža’s homemade oils and balms, which the whole family uses.

Natural fortunes

Not many places in the world have Croatia’s diversity or abundance of natural resources that provide food, nutrition, and healing. I’m not sure how many Croatians realize their good fortune in this regard, but it seems obvious to me, and it feels like I’m constantly learning about a new food or plant here that provides some benefit.

11_CBurkhardt_IMG_0397_1.jpg

Maginje fruit are called Croatian strawberries. Although the shape, texture, and taste are different from typical garden strawberries, their health benefits are similar. Unlike the garden variety that grows in plants low to the ground, maginje grows wild in trees and in great quantity.

To be able to produce food with readily available, indigenous vegetation, animals, and other means AND nourish your body (hello Mediterranean diet) AND heal your ailments, seems like a triple win. I’m glad to have found Croatia’s natural wellness; to my mind it enhances everyone’s prospects for healthy living.

For more of Cyndie's experiences, check out her Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad column.  

Are you an expat in Croatia who would like to share your experiences during the pandemic in Cyndie's video series? If yes, please contact her on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are also keen to interview any digital nomads who have successfully applied for the new visa, after the first success in Istria - Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia's First Digital Nomad Visa. Please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Nomad Visa. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Nomad Rescue: New Croatian App Created as One-Stop Shop for Digital Nomads

November 30, 2021 - Nomad Rescue is a new one-stop web application for digital nomads, developed by Algebra University College graduate students. 

A team of graduate students from Algebra University College, "The Nomads," has developed an application that makes it easier for digital nomads to navigate the country they have chosen while answering all practical and operational questions about life in the country, reports Index.hr.

There has been a lot of talk in Croatia to attract digital nomads to live and work in the country, which has been successfully implemented in terms of regulations that allow individuals in Croatia. Thus, Croatia became one of the first countries globally with such an elaborate program for attracting digital nomads.

It is this idea that the Algebra University graduate students decided to explore and expand in more detail, where an innovative project program has recently been implemented as a compulsory course in all graduate studies.

Students acquire entrepreneurial skills during this two-year graduate study program and go through a program similar to waiting for startups in each incubator; they also have mentors available to advise them. There are no exams, no tests, but each individual's contribution is evaluated as well as the overall team result - which together represents an innovative way of practical teaching that we have not had the opportunity to see so far.

A unique part of this project is that it brings together students from various graduate studies conducted by Algebra University - software engineering, digital marketing, and data science - so students meet with different skills and different previous education, who often did not have the opportunity to get acquainted earlier in their studies, which makes exchanging ideas, knowledge, and working on the project much more exciting and fun. 

"Our motto is that students through this course should learn how to reach the goal - after that, each new endeavor is a step forward for them, and they have a clear feeling that they will succeed; it's just a question of when. In other words, it's just a matter of their persistence," emphasizes Maja Brkljačić, one of the course leaders and head of business development in the longest-lived and most relevant startup incubator in the country, Algebra LAB.

One-stop-shop for digital nomads

Seven members of the "The Nomads" had fun studying the lifestyle of digital nomads, which led to the idea of developing a web application, "Nomad Rescue," a one-stop shop for digital nomads. Their research of the problems digital nomads face has shown that it is challenging to relocate to another location for some. In contrast, for others, the situations they face after relocating are much more challenging.

Andro Žonja and Ivan Jakovljević, graduate students of software engineering, Nina Tudor, Marta Krznar and Filip Puljić, graduate students of digital marketing, and Antonio Akrapović and Mateja Novaković, who are studying at the graduate study of data science, designed an application that would quickly and efficiently offer nomads reliable information on various topics.

Nomad Rescue is designed as a social network that integrates a program to search for accommodation for longer stays. Its users will be able to use this social network as a tool to meet other digital nomads in their location and thus find roommates. It will also feature an accommodation search tool for those nomads staying for a more extended period and a module that students call a "virtual guide" that will allow users to integrate into the new environment more easily.

"It is a platform that tries to facilitate the selection of a new living environment, finding accommodation, reviewing the content offered by nearby locations, and meeting other nomads through the social network," explains Ivan Jakovljević.

"I came up with the idea almost a year before we started this project," says Nina Tudor, a graduate student in digital marketing and leader of the team.

"I follow people who travel and work and live the life of a digital nomad, and that is something I would personally like to do in a few years. I wanted to do this for myself, and as the trend of living as a digital nomad is constantly growing, I knew it could be interesting to others. The idea was perhaps too ambitious for independent production, so I am thrilled that others recognized the idea and, in this way, it came to life. Of course, the idea went through a couple of phases of changes, and in the format in which it is today, everyone in the team deserves credit," explains Nina.

The digital nomad trend is constantly growing, especially since the pandemic started. Many employees do not want to go back to offices, and companies must adapt to new labor market demands. "The pandemic has accelerated the trend of working from home, which enables employees from the IT sector and related professions to travel and stay in other areas. Maybe because of the climate, lower living costs or simply because they are interested in other cultures," says Ivan Jakovljević.

Nina says that she spent many years working in tourism and talking to people from different countries, so she concluded that many tourists like to stay in Croatia and return from summer to summer. "That's why I wasn't so surprised by the interest in the digital nomad program in Croatia. Moreover, I'm happy that people like Jan de Jong recognized the importance of such a program and made an effort to make it happen," says Nina Tudor.

Although Croatia is one of the first countries to introduce a program for digital nomads, the application was designed by students to be easily applied to any country.

"Of course, data entry is a challenge in such cases, but our application relies heavily on global information repositories offered by Amazon and Google," explains Ivan Jakovljevic.

"We believe that local governments or tourist boards could use the application to promote their locality towards digital nomads. One of the best indicators of how much a certain environment is favorable to digital nomads is the availability of information in digital form," says Ivan.

Mentors who help the student team develop the project say that it is logical to recognize this topic. 

ccc48e88-858b-48e0-a2e6-211d1ae836ad.jpeg

"It is expected and quite logical that the students of this generation decided on this topic because the idea of digital nomads is something that will be very prominent and present in their work experience. Moreover, Algebra students from abroad are also digital nomads, in a way. Currently, we have 2-3 startups in Croatia working on this topic, so it is very hot, and the need for such a platform is real," emphasizes Maja Brkljačić.

Such projects, once launched, can significantly contribute to the country’s success and attractiveness as a destination for digital nomads. These people travel efficiently and quickly, change their geographical location, and just as easily and quickly need to get the critical information. The project is set up in a scalable way. It can be easily replicated to other countries, which is crucial for finding sources of funding because VC funds and EU funds strongly prefer global or at least European solutions.

"From this group interdisciplinary project, I learned a lot about the marketing side of development and product design itself. I also received knowledge from colleagues in the field of data science about the use and management of information and how to implement it in our product," says Andro Žonja, a programmer who develops the back-end, i.e., the server-side of the application, which consists of a layer with business logic and a database and enables communication internally and with the client part of the application.

On the other hand, one of the future graduates of data science, Mateja Novaković, also says that "interdisciplinary cooperation is quite common today and is encouraged in all spheres of life and work." She liked working with fellow program engineering students because it allowed her to go beyond the tasks she has as a member of the data science team.

"I think this is one of the more important subjects because it prepares us for a real labor market where at some point we will need to work with people from different industries and different ways of thinking. So it is exciting for me to work on the project because of all the knowledge that I will get, not only from the mentors we work with but also from colleagues in the team," emphasizes Nina Tudor.

Antonio Akrapović says that just like any other team working on a project, without a reasonable exchange of knowledge and skills, "the project could not even start, so this synergy and exchange of opinions is crucial." Antonio was in charge of the data collection strategy and its application from data science to improve the user experience when searching for the desired service most efficiently.

But just like in the real world, not everything is always ideal - and one learns through challenges. Ivan Jakovljević especially emphasizes good communication as a prerequisite for integration and the success of each team:

"The fact that members come from different educational backgrounds enriches ideas and views on the problem, but also sometimes makes communication difficult. As a result, each newly formed team has a relatively low level of efficiency given the potential of its members. Over time, the team adopts a common language manifested in norms and a clearly defined work process. Only after that step can the team realize its potential. However, to get to that point requires quality communication and overcoming certain obstacles, which is challenging to learn from books but requires the experience of teamwork.

The mentor's task is to help the team with their knowledge and experience during the two years of project development. Of course, there are always several challenges.

"The biggest challenges arose with project modules that students have not dealt with so far, such as security aspects and the use of certificates, and data collection, which made it difficult to analyze and evaluate such tasks because students did not have reference experience with similar functionalities," says Aleksander Radovan, Algebra lecturer and expert in Java software solution development. But such situations are good because students have the opportunity to acquire knowledge that they have not yet encountered while studying or working on real projects.

Aleksander Radovan advised a team of students in the segment of software engineering and the use of current technologies in developing solutions.

b9b8cb33-c7ab-44db-b909-96de3ef79c2e.jpeg

"In such situations, we helped students by adding a task related to research and development - R&D - and, after discovering how they can implement certain functionality that was a challenge for them, in the next project sprint, i.e., intensive work with a mentor, I can add the job of creating specific functionality," explains Radovan.

It is crucial, just like with any other startup, that students avoid pitfalls when developing projects.

"Most startups are designed in a way that their founders start from their own needs, believing that if the product is helpful to them, then it will probably be beneficial to others. However, such an assumption needs to be verified or validated by market research, which is a rather complicated procedure.

Our biggest challenge was to check if our ideas seem helpful to other people and try to rank them according to market interest," says Ivan Jakovljević.

Finally, how to successfully launch a new web application with such international solid competition arises. Maja Brkljačić, Business Development Manager at Algebra LAB and who has extensive experience in mentoring and organizing the incubation process for many startups, can offer advice not only to this innovative team but also to others working on similar projects in their startups.

“First and foremost, I would say: know your customer. The market for mobile applications, but also web applications, is a shark pool. In October this year alone, 69,000 new mobile appointments were announced on the Google Play Store. So for someone to want to install your application on their mobile phone or use your web service, they must be motivated," emphasizes Maja Brkljačić.

Then "you need to know how to reach that user; how they can find you among more than half a million new applications a year."

"I would say that the communication process must be as fast and simple as possible - the digital age does not suffer delays, technical problems, waiting. Which means your app needs to work perfectly. In other words - it is better to have a smaller number of functionalities when entering the market, but the degree of their refinement is as high as possible," she concludes.

Ultimately, the "Nomad Rescue" team gains valuable and vital experience and knowledge of how developing such a project in practice looks. Although this knowledge is, for the most part, actually an extension of what has already been learned during their studies, they emphasize that it is always necessary to acquire knowledge outside the formal educational process.

"It is necessary to acquire knowledge independently and outside the framework prescribed by the study curriculum. However, the knowledge we gained from different subjects proved extremely useful in certain application development steps. For example, in the field of software engineering, these are topics such as how to organize large amounts of data to be easily accessible for analysis, how to containerize an application to run on multiple computers, cryptography for sensitive data protection, and other technical topics that are crucial for the success of our project," sums up Ivan Jakovljević.

This course teaches students to neglect their domain specializations in one section and look for a common language with other colleagues.

“We ask them to participate, as much as possible, together in working on different tasks: so software developers have to start communicating with end-users, which is a very new and often surprising experience for them. At the same time, product developers develop a functional specification and face, for example, how difficult it is to make changes to functionalities once they have been developed. So tomorrow, when they will work on similar complex projects, we expect that our students will communicate much better and understand their colleagues in other departments," concludes Maja Brkljačić. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Digital Nomads Seen as New Development Opportunity for Croatian Tourism

ZAGREB, 3 Sept 2021 - Croatia is an ideal destination for digital nomads who are provided with a quality internet network in our country and can enjoy its fascinating scenery, pleasant climate, and overall safety, and this is a new development opportunity for Croatia's tourism, Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Friday.

The tourism minister Brnjac underscored that digital nomads contribute to year-round tourism.

An estimated one billion people will be teleworking in 2035 and a significantly higher number of digital nomads are expected in the next period, she underscored at a conference organised by the Novi List daily in the seaside resort of Opatija .

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Kristjan Staničić underlined that an estimated 17 million people are digital nomads.

A joint campaign by the ministry and tourism board was launched this spring in an effort to promote Croatia's comparative advantages for digital nomads, primarily on the British market, followed and later on the markets of the USA, Canada and Russia.

200 applications for digital nomad status in Croatia

That has resulted in about 200 applications for digital nomad status in our country, said Staničić.

Croatia is one of the first EU countries to regulate a one-year temporary residence status for nomads. Cooperation between the ministries of tourism and of the interior has resulted in a series of laws being adapted related to digital nomads.

Interior Ministry State Secretary Terezija Gras recalled that the Law on Aliens had been amended to introduce digital nomads as a new category eligible for temporary residence. Conditions of eligibility have been entirely simplified and have cut unnecessary red tape, she said.

They have also been exempted from dual taxation payments and health insurance issues have also been regulated.

Digital nomads from Croatia and elsewhere presented their views and experiences at the conference.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Page 1 of 4

Search