Want to ask the waiter for those drinks in Croatian? Having problems meeting and greeting the receptionist? Looking to pick up some Croatian whilst in Dubrovnik, well here is your chance. Europe House Dubrovnik is currently running blitz Croatian courses to help you navigate the language. Europe House Dubrovnik (EHD) was founded in March 1995 as a non-profit, non-party and non-governmental association. We caught up with the Adriana Kremenjaš Daničić, the President of the Society, to find out more.
Why did your organization decide to run courses in Croatian for tourists?
Most of the inhabitants of this part of Croatia live from tourism and therefore through our formal educational system we try to teach our children and young people as many foreign languages as possible. On the other hand, many stakeholders from the tourism sector are trying to create some special offers to make tourists feel as comfortable as possible during their stay in our country. This is often contributed by non-profit organizations such as the Europe House Dubrovnik Association, founded in 1995. As we work hard with young people throughout the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, in the past years in the municipality of Župa Dubrovnik we gathered young people in the Wandering Librarians group. They borrowed books for free in foreign languages near several beaches. They had to talk to tourists from many countries, not just from Europe. During this communication we noticed that many tourists were interested in learning basic terms in Croatian, such as "good day", "thank you", "goodbye". That is why in the summer of 2015, our Croatian youth club program included free mini-courses in Croatian language, during which all tourists who like to learn foreign languages can learn the basics of Croatian language. Local young people have made it possible to develop foreign languages and introduce people from all over the world in informal ways. The course participants' reactions were great and we also held the courses in the summer of 2016.
Then a young German polyglot and travel writer learned about them and asked us to organize a course for him in December when he was staying in Dubrovnik. He was obviously pleased because he came back to us recently because of the continuation of Croatian language learning, in mid-June.
How long do the courses last and what knowledge will the students get by the end of the course?
The courses last for two hours - either at a time or split in two days. The content depends in part on the interests and the number of participants. Some more interested in learning vocabulary and expression, and other grammar. In any case, after our course you can greet and introduce, buy bread or order coffee - all in Croatian. We can also organize additional classes.
Suri from Mexico and Chris from Australia learning Croatian
What feedback have you received from your students?
We were particularly pleased that many of those who attended the seminars said that in all of the countries they had visited they hadn’t come across a similar possibility of learning the language of the country in question. That is why we have decided to organize the courses this summer. I must say thanks to the support of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, who recognized the courses as a contribution to enriching the local tourist offer.
Are these courses open to everyone?
Yes, all visitors to Dubrovnik are welcome, no matter where they come from.
How much do the courses cost?
The courses are free, and if someone wants more lessons, we can offer them at very reasonable prices. With this revenue, we fund our youth activities. Europe Home Dubrovnik is a non-profit organization that finances its activities mostly from donations.
I understand that a member of a crew from a cruise ship attended one course. How did this occur and how satisfied was he with the outcome?
Yes, a cruise crew member from distant Mauritius recently walked into our classes. His attention was drawn to the colourful cabinets of small libraries in Croatian and a few foreign languages, which we set for a couple of years on the wall beside our space. He came in with us and said that his ship came to Croatian ports often and that he had already learned the basic terms of the Croatian language online. During the course we practiced grammar, and he learned a few more words in Croatian.
Learn the Croatian basics in a few hours
Why would you recommend a couple of words and sentences in Croatian?
Croatia is a small country and in comparison with the world's largest languages, the very few people speak Croatian. That is why we do not expect our visitors to know our language. But everywhere in the world, even in Croatia, people are delighted when foreigners try and speak their language. In addition, Croatian is one of the official languages of the European Union. So why not learn Croatian? Believe me, the saying "Your value is in the number of languages you speak" is true!
Who teaches the Croatian course and is it difficult to teach tourists from all different countries?
The Croatian language courses are held in our offices at Nikola Tesla Street 9. And the courses are taught mainly by young people who are not only able to communicate in English or any other language but also to introduce visitors from all over the world to Croatian language, culture and customs.