brovnik is a university city. International students from all over the world flock to the city and the Libertas International University in the heart of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik is certainly a popular destination. We caught up with Florian Schacht, a student from Hamburg, Germany, who is currently studying a semester at Libertas to discover his experiences. Schacht has studied all over the world, from New York to Amsterdam, and is currently in the fourth year at a university in Hamburg. “All of my university studies have been in English, even in Hamburg, so having the chance to study in English in Dubrovnik was just too attractive of a chance to miss,” adds Schacht.
Why did you decide to study a semester at Libertas University in Dubrovnik?
I have a little background in Dubrovnik. I did an internship as a radio presenter in Dubrovnik and I was not only a get experience but also opened my eyes to the beauty of the city. Also my brother is currently studying in Libertas, in fact he has been here since he was 17 years-old. As I have studied all over the world it seemed like an opportunity to spend some time with him. He also filled me in on the work at the university and made it look even more interesting. Libertas also gave me the opportunity to study and explore international relations and international organisations, even though I have to take course that are more business orientated because of my major in Hamburg. So I am studying international organisations, international business, methods of social research and negotiating and contract resolution at Libertas.
It must be a unique feeling to actually study in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s it like being a student in a such a historic city?
Every morning when I enter into the university I am actually entering into a medieval monastery, that is certainly a unique feeling. I have been told by one professor that the rooms in which we study we originally used by monks for reading and storing books, it was one of the oldest pubic libraries in Europe, so I think that the classrooms are a great place for education. After class you can go to the beach, between classes you can have a coffee on the Stradun and basically after every day we all go for a drink in a bar in the Old City.
You have relatively small classes at the university, does that help with communication with professors?
I have had the opportunity to take classes with all the generations, from the first year to the third year, and in every class there have been around 15 students, so even smaller classes than the private university in Hamburg. Of course all of the classes are in English and the students are an international mix.
You have studied in various cities, from New York to Amsterdam, so how would you compare student life in Dubrovnik to all of these other world destinations?
Yes, Dubrovnik is of course much smaller than all of these other cities I have studied in. However, it is a great place because it is quieter and even though there are less things to do it’s great because you can experience a different kind of culture. It just seems calmer and more relaxed. Here you take your time for coffee and to actually communicate with people, so for me it is a great escape from these faster paced cities.
It is challenging to study in such a well-known tourist destination? And what other problems have you had studying here?
Of course Dubrovnik changes through the seasons. In the spring it is easy to get around and find accommodation, but as the summer approaches the city gets busy and the housing for students can be challenging. I know that from talking to the American students who are studying in Libertas that their accommodation is included in the package. There is of course some paperwork that needs to be sorted out but the university can help students with that. As far as actually studying here I have all the tools I need, and not only all the information but also the time to put them to use. I have found that the professors not only have a background in education but also in work or life experience. This makes their educational package more interesting and more open-minded. In fact, I would say that I have a close relationship with my professors, having small classes helps but also the professors are always open to help.
You are a foreign student in a country where you don’t speak the language. Of course Libertas International University teaches exclusively in English but how have you coped with other aspects of life outside of the classroom?
Look Dubrovnik is an international city. I am quite used to living in a country where neither English or German is a first language, for example in Amsterdam. As Dubrovnik is a tourist destination pretty much everyone speaks English to a relatively high level. Living in Dubrovnik, especially, without actually having any knowledge of Croatian would not be too much of a problem.
Would you recommend the Libertas International University to other foreign students who are thinking of studying abroad?
Yes. Their professors have great experience, all with a great background and great knowledge. What gives them added value is that they have worked outside of education, they have an interesting background.
What memories will you take with you after the experience of studying and living in Dubrovnik?
I think I have learned to take my time, to sit down for a moment and take the time for myself and to also make time for friends and family, rather than just to focus on a career. Dubrovnik has taught me that finding a balance between work and private life is essential.
Text and Photos - Mark Thomas
Flower fairs are a must-visit during the spring in Dubrovnik. After the one that was held in Gruz, another flower fair organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik will be held on Friday, April 20th, at Pile.
Participants will be: Ankora d.o.o. from Zaton Veliki, CZR Josipovac and OPG Simatovic from Zupa and Vrtlar d.o.o.
But there is more! The third flower fair will take place on Saturday, April 21, at the beginning of the promenade at Lapad Bay.
Participants: Rasadnik Agrovrt - Metkovic, CZR Josipovac - Zupa, OPG Bagic - Kutina, OPG Mestric - Bjelovar, OPG Simatovic - Zupa, OPG Valent - Varazdin and Vrtlar d.o.o. - Dubrovnik.
At the fair in Lapad, the world's leading humanitarian intergovernmental organization UNICEF will host the event, which will present the Child project and their activities in Croatia. Especially for this opportunity, representatives of UNICEF have prepared a gift pack with flower seeds to share with visitors. This flower that they chose symbolizes hope and memory of the dear ones and caring for the needy.
All the flower fairs will be held from 7.30 am to 4 pm and are well worth a visit.
The second concert of the Dubrovnik Musical Spring Festival organized by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will take place on Friday, April 20th in the Sponza Palace. The string orchestra of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchesta will have a great addition of Russian violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky, top performer of baroque music and brilliant contraenor. The start of the concert is at 8pm.
Dmitry Sinkovsky, well known to Dubrovnik public, finished the prestigious Moscow Conservatory of Tchaikovsky and won numerous awards at important competitions such as Premio Bonaparti in Italy, Bach Competition in Leipzig, Musica Antiqua in Bruges and others. He is currently playing at the top violin "Francesco Rugeri" from 1675.
Sinkovsky will, together with the DSO strings, perform works by great Baroque composers.
The contract to construct the new Peljesac Bridge will be signed on Monday. Speaking to Croatia Radio Television, the Minster for Sea, Traffic and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, commented that the contract for the construction of the bridge will be signed with the Chinese company on Monday.
The Chinese company, Chinese Road and Bridge Corporation, won the public tender to construct the new bridge, however this result has been challenged by the other companies in the tender. The Austrian construction company, Strabag AG, have filled a complaint against a bid and this court process could slow down the whole process by up to two years.
The Peljesac bridge is the largest planned infrastructure project in Croatia, intended to link the southernmost part of the country with the rest of its road network by circumventing a short strip of Bosnia and Herzegovina's coastal territory around the town of Neum, avoiding customs controls and improving the flow of road traffic during the summer tourist season.
The entire project is worth €420 million without VAT, with the EU funding 85 percent of the total cost, or €357 million. The government's tender to build the main part of the project, including the bridge itself and access roads, received three bids, and the winning bid, announced in January 2018 by the state-owned road management company Hrvatske Ceste, was by the CRBC, worth 2.08 billion kuna (€280.7 million).
"We confirm that we have filed a complaint against the decision in the tender for the Peljesac Bridge project today at the Administrative Court in Zagreb. We also filed a motion for a temporary court ban on the construction works to start. We also turned to the European Commission," Strabag said.
When asked whether the Strabag court case would delay the start of construction of the Peljesac Bridge the Minster replied “Despite Strabag's lawsuit, the procedure is legitimate for us. What kind of citizen of this country would I be if I advocated stopping the construction of the Peljesac Bridge?”
The top three top 3 non-EU recipient countries of Croatian citizenship in 2016 were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Chile. In new data released by the European Union organisation, Eurostat, on the number of citizenships handed out to people from non-EU countries Croatia is most favourable towards its direct neighbours, and rather surprisingly a South American country.
A total of 1,516 people from Bosnia and Herzgovina were granted with Croatian citizenship in 2016, followed by 734 from Serbia and 175 from Chile. Croatia granted citizenship to 3,703 non-EU citizens in 2016, which means that Croatia is way down the list of EU members granting citizenship. Italy was the top citizenship-granting country in the EU (20% of new citizenships granted), followed by Spain and the United Kingdom (both 15%), France (12%) and Germany (11%).
In 2016 the European Union members granted just over 863,000 new citizenships, with Morocco receiving the most, in total 101,295.
The roads of Croatia will soon have cameras installed that will be able to detect if drivers are using their mobile phones. In fact, the static speed cameras and surveillance cameras that are already installed all over Croatia will be upgraded with new software that has the ability to recognise if drivers are on their phones.
Drivers caught using their smartphones whilst under the control of a car will be fined and the fine will automatically be sent to their home addresses. Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce this kind of camera and it has proved extremely successful.
According to reports in the Australian media in one five-hour test 270 people were caught illegally using their phones, and in another test on a busy highway a further 1,000 drivers were caught over a nine-hour period.
“Is it always this foggy in Dubrovnik?” commented a tourist from England as the sun struggled to break through the sand choked skies of Dubrovnik. Yes, sand choked!
Dubrovnik and the entire region is under a thick blanket of sand from the Sahara, which every now and again gets dumped on the city when it rains.
The forecast predicts that Wednesday will be the last day of this “peasouper” and the city and nature can get back to normal. While most tourists coming to Dubrovnik expected to see sandy beaches they’ll have to live with sandy skies for now.
Check out the sandy skies of Dubrovnik video
As we reported yesterday, with the aim of preventing accidents caused by inappropriate speed, traffic police officers will monitor the speed of vehicles even more than usual during this week from Monday to Sunday, April 22nd.
However, the most controled day will be tomorrow – there will be continuous 24-hour speed control across Croatia, after TISPOL’s action. Dubrovnik-Neretva County Police also joined in and will control the speed from 6 am tomorrow until 6 am on Thursday. The goal of the action is, apart from the repressive, to act as preventive to all the drivers, which is why this action is announced in advance.
The action will be carried out on a large number of locations. Police Administration called on citizens to propose speed monitoring locations and selected the most suitable ones. All available devices will be used, and the action will include the maximum possible number of police officers. In order to cover as wide a territory as possible, the monitoring locations will be changed every two to three hours.
Speed is the most common cause of traffic accidents, often those with the most severe consequences, so these actions are much needed.
Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Robin Hood and Bollywood have all used the beauty of Croatia as a backdrop for their productions, so why not an advert. An Indian company have recently filmed a television advert for soap in and around Split.
The ad was apparently recorded last autumn in Croatia and is currently being shown on Indian TV, and as it has a tourist feel it will not only help advertise the product but also Croatia.
The mega popular Indian model, Priyanka Bhardwaj, features in the advert and she can be seen posing in the waterfalls of the National Park of Krk as well as in the Diocletian Palace in Split. This new Bollywood style advert should help attract even more tourists from India to Croatia this year.
There is a new public bus in town and no it has nothing to do with a county in England. This Kent bus is apparently on trails at the moment in Dubrovnik and is running the line from Mokosica to the Old City.
It appears to be catching a few passengers out as it isn’t the traditional Dubrovnik orange bus that have become a symbol of the city’s public transport. Presumably if Libertas, the public bus company, plan on purchasing a few of these buses they be painted orange.