My passion for preserving my Croatian identity began when I was young - Zagreb School of Economics and Management

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My passion for preserving my Croatian identity began when I was young

ZSEM alumnus Nikola Meteš works in America to link Croatians outside their homeland and to preserve Croatian culture, history, and language.

Nikola Meteš, an alumnus from the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, who after finishing his studies still strives to maintain strong links with the school that helped him start his career. Upon completing his undergraduate studies at ZSEM, Nikola was hired at Collegium Travel d.o.o. After 3 years of work, Nikola decided to continue his education and begin his graduate studies in America,  thus preparing intensively for his GMAT and moving to the USA.

“My wish is to gain international business experience. I have American citizenship so it’s administratively easier to go to America. But my plan is to go back to Croatia in 5 to 7 years, which is soon”

Nikola moved to San Francisco, where he worked in marketing for successful companies such as Simpler Media Group, Inc., Oakland Athletics, Sunceco, and Bonitasoft. Currently, Nikola lives in Chicago where he is continuing his education at the graduate school Loyola University.

While studying, working, and living in America, Nikola is active in projects that encourage the preservation of Croatian culture, history, and language. He is currently an active member of the Association of Croatian-American Professionals. The passion towards projects that help preserve Croatian identity developed from an early age, since he comes from an immigrant family that moved back to Croatia.

Nikola was born in 1986 in the United States. He comes from a family that has always been passionate for Croatia, as well as its culture, language, and customs. His mother moved with her family to America when she was 6 years old. His father came to study in America, where he met Nikola’s mother; the two fell in love and started a family. America gave them the opportunity to get educated, start a business, and raise their children. Their desire to return to Croatia was always strong, and was fulfilled in 1998, when the whole family moved to Vinkovci.

“In America we were always active in Croatian communities. There were also many other families who said they wanted to move back to Croatia, but they did not. Another 3 families moved back at the same time we did, however we are the only ones who stayed. The other 3 families returned back to America after a year, because they couldn’t adapt to Croatia. Jobs, schools, relationships, culture,….they simply didn’t fit in and it was easier to go back to America.”

For the last 2-3 years, Nikola has been an active member of the Association of Croatian-American Professionals. The association has 1,500 members and aims to bring together all the Croats living outside Croatia in order to connect, collaborate, and link Croatian excellence.

“It is estimated that there are millions of people in the US with Croatian roots, and we only have 1,500 active members. There is a huge difference between the youth of today, and those 15 years ago. Now most people from Croatia migrate to other countries, like Germany, Ireland, Sweden…In the past people left our country due to the regime, with the hope that they would return to their homeland, and today they leave because they are angry and not sentimentally connected, and they don’t plan on returning. If Croatia’s professionalism and expertise could help to create quality living conditions in Croatia, the number of emigrants would decrease, and the number of Croats moving back would increase. I’m motivated by the projects I work on to preserve the Croatian identity”

Nikola believes that ZSEM, which is an internationally recognized quality school, with prestigious AACSB accreditation and English language programs, attracts diaspora who do not speak the Croatian language. In the United States, it is customary to go from the family home to study far away, and where there are Croat communities, many more Croatian diaspora are choosing to study ZSEM to return to their homeland.

 

Author: Marija Oblaković

 

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