Photo: Tomislav Miletic/PIXSELL

We are the vice champions my friend! Yes, we are, and get used to it. Football, beer, hard core curse words and surveillance cameras are our thing. Learning about our ways is going to help you understand why we do somethings the way we do them, why are we always yelling and where our time goes. No doubt you are going to be mesmerized by the beauty of our country, but the people, that where the real fun lies.

An American writer, and now a Croatian professor, Cody McClain Brown explored the process of learning about Croatian culture, and the best way how to get “from a stranger to a son in law”. However, if you are packing your bags for Erasmus in Croatia, and you haven’t had the time to do your research, this article may help you figure out how to get used to us.

EVERYTHING TAKES TIME

The best advice we can give you is to be patient. We are no Germans, or Japanese, we are Croats, which means that everything takes time. If you need some paperwork done at your college, leave it and come pick it up in a few hours. When getting ready to grab coffee with your new Croatian friends, tell your roommate that you will be gone for at least 4 hours, so that they don’t get worried and call the police. And finally be prepared for cash register lines. They are probably as long as your trip from home to Zagreb, so have a book or two with you to keep you awake.

Photo:Damir Spehar/PIXSELL

We may not be the best at organizing our time, but we sure are the best at drinking. Home made vine, beer, vodka and cognac are some of the drinks that get the party started. Natalie Mudro, a student from Vienna said “I learned the word ′presjeći′ and I hope I hadn’t.” Presjeći means that rakija is joining the party. “We were drinking beer when,” Natalie remembers “ They said that we need to take a shot of rakija, and from that point on I don’t remember anything.” That is the reason why rakija comes with an instruction manual, which says you can’t drink it without your friends!  

While talking about alcohol we can’t forget the Croatian yin yang, which are beer and football. Football is the most (un)important thing in our culture. Every twenty years we are one medal closer to winning the world Championship gold. Last year we were vice champions, and how did we watch the games? By drinking 12 thousand hectoliters of beer a game. So if you can’t take your beer, or drunk people, than you better watch the game at home.

INEVITABLE PROFANITY

As always, the first words you are going to learn in Croatian language are going to be the curses. Psychologist Kristin Joy conducted a research that showed cursing is very therapeutic, but not only that, it also means that you  have a high IQ. Having that in mind, we must say that Croatians are one of the most intelligent people in the world. A philosophy and sociology student Antonela Pavelić considers profanity inevitable in some situations, for example driving.

Photo: Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL

“I just can’t help it, when someone is a bad driver I go crazy!”, she said. The important thing is that you don’t worry if you hear someone yelling at you, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong, it just means you found yourself at the wrong place in the wrong time. The person is probably angry because his club lost the game, the kids did something at school again or worst of all that his or hers mother in low is coming to town. 

All these things will fall into place shortly after you settle down, but then you will find out what surveillance cameras are in Croatia. No, they are not regular camera devices, they are human camera devices. Imagine, you are in the club, dancing, having fun, and your Croatian friend debates whether or not to light a cigarette. You don’t see the problem, but she explains that someone in here might know her parents and tell them that she is a smoker. Not only that, but not saying hallo might also get us into trouble, so get used to us greeting people in our neighborhood. 

“We are a very social nation,” said Alen Mrvac, a radio and online media journalist. We are hardly ever alone, it’s either our night to host a gathering or we are getting ready to go to someone else’s home. 

MOTHERS CALLING AT LEAST TWICE A DAY

“The best thing is calling your friends to come to your place and hang out. Talking, playing board games, watching movies, its all better when we do it all together”, said Alen. So when buying a couch it doesn’t matter if it looks good in the room, it only matters that it can fit all of your friends at the same time. Also, get used to our mothers calling at least twice a day. We are only twenty years old, and we left the nest too early, so they are checking out to see if we are alive and if we’ve had something to eat that day.  

“We may curse a lot but we are still the best!” said Antonela. Yes, at times we can be slow at our jobs but quick tempered in the streets, and yes, you may get really drunk trying to keep up with our drinking. Despite all of that, you are going to see how much we value friendship and love, how honest and trustworthy we are, and how our good vibes and atmosphere will change a bad day in to a best day. Get used to it, it is who we are.