Hey everyone! My name is Hrvoje Kurtović and I am Croatian. Some one of you may have never heard about my country and it´s probably hard for you to imagine where it is located. But that´s the reason why I want to represent my country on reddeerinternational.
Location & Geography
Croatia?! What does it sound like?: Russian, something in South America or even an island? That are all good suggestions but they are totally wrong. Croatia is located in South Eastern Europe on the Balcanian peninsula next to Serbia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia and on the other side of the sea to Italy. As you can see, Croatia has a lot of neighbours because of its long history. I mentioned the sea which is called the “Adriatic sea” (in Croatian: Jadransko more). It is a part of the Middle sea in the Southern part of Europe. We are a very small country even in Europe. Some people say our country looks like a bird beacuse of its outline. Our size is nearly the one of West Virginia that is still a small state in the U.S. That leads that our population is only about 4.4 million. Even though we are pretty small, we have a variety of landscapes. Our coast was awarded as the most beautiful in Europe with its over 1000 islands. You have to imagine 1000 islands in such a small country!!! Next to the coast are unpopulated hills and mountains so that there is an unbelievable landscape. The north and the east around the capitol Zagreb, which is also called Agram, are full with rivers and flat landscapes. If you visit Croatia one time in your life, you are going to see this awesome landscapes and the clear sea that you can´t find in another place on Earth. Besides Zagreb, where 25 % of all Croatians live, Split, Rijeka and Osijek are the biggest cities. These cities are not so big so that there is only one McDonald’s in each city.
Croatia is the 3rd eldest Republic in Europe…even older than Germany or France. This leads to a long history that I won´t tell in detail since this should make Croatia palatabile for you . First of all, Croatia was a part of many other states or republics. The most important one was the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia where the “Tito Communism” was governing. Tito was the Yugoslavian marshall who died in 1980. After that, Croatia was trying to enforce sovereignity. That finally had happened in 1991 but a war against Serbia followed after this declaration. After that war, the whole Yugoslavian concept of brotherhood and unity was falling apart and Croatia got all the neighbours I already mentioned (except Hungary). Now, 20 years after the end of the war we are a peaceful, democratic country which is part of the NATO and the European Union for 1 year now. The politics isn´t working like in other EU countries so that there is still a lot of corruption in comperation to other Western states. That leads that we still have our own currency which is called
We are sports-mad, really really sports-mad. Everybody is doing some kind of sports. The most popular are soccer, handball and water polo. I am playing water polo also because Croatia was the world-champion and won the Olympic gold medal in the last 5 years. The biggest soccer achievement was the 3rd place at the world cup 1998 in France. Through this tournament, we gained a lot attention from the world also because we were a sovereign country just for 6 years. We love our country and we show this at sport events. Maybe we show our love too much with the help of pyrotechnique so that we have to pay a lot of fines for our misbehaviour. But it´s not misbehaviour for us, it´s our way to show our emotions and that´s the point where I want to introduce our
Each European country has its own philosophy and type of character. We Croatians are a loud, emotional and direct folk. If you watch the World-Cup opening game where we are going to play against Brasil you will hear our fans and see the temperament in our soccer game. You will also hear our anthem there, which has the title “Lijepa naša domovino” (Our beautiful homeland). I post the first verse so that you can get an imagination how does it sound like
Our beautiful homeland,
O so fearless and gracious.
Our fathers’ ancient glory,
May you be blessed forever.
Maybe that´s another paragraph but for me it´s still a part of temperament: Religion. It follows us our whole life. 90 % of all people who are living in Croatia, and these are not only Croatians are roman-catholic. That´s a high percentage. That´s the point why I see religion also as a part of our lifestyle. Even though we´re not living the way our priest tells us, we have other way of religion and we live it. In the poor regions, especially in the south, are even a higher percentage of religios people than in the cities. Little villages come together in the church and people meet there to talk about the last week. But as I mentioned, that´s only in the less populated parts of Croatia. The others are living largely a typical European life.
Other people´s reaction about my origin
When I came for my study abroad term to the United States, I wasn´t sure if someone knew where or even what Croatia is. After I had arrived, my suggestions became true: Nobody who came outside from Europe had heard something about my country. So I explained them my country in the same way I am doing it right now in this blog. The people were amused to hear about such a (for them) “exotic” country so that I could make a lot of friends only because they wanted to learn something about Croatians and their lifestyle. In Germany, where I am living, people react normal to Croatians since Germany is one of the top list countries which have a high number of immigrants. So, we Croatians and other foreigners are part of the present multiculutral lifestyle in Germany.
Facts about me
# born in 1994 (20 years)
# met Fuyima at the University of South Florida in my abroad term
# studies General Management-International Business at European Business School, Germany
# born in Germany, raised up in Croatia and is now back in Germany for college
# plays water polo for 7 years, now in the 3rd German division
# loves all kinds of water sports
# listens to hip-hop & rap & turbo-folk
# speaks Croatian, English, German & Russian
# holds a diploma in Latin & Old Greek
# hits the gym hard & addicted to sports
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