Yiming Zhang is 22 years old and comes from the Shandong province, the second largest province in China, which has about 100 million inhabitants. He lives in the city of Linyi, which has over 10 million inhabitants. Yiming wanted to experience what it’s like to study in a environment he’s not used to, far from the bustle and dense population of his home country. After his friend returned from studying abroad in Croatia, she recommended to him the international program of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, and Yiming quickly decided to come to Croatia to enrich his student experience. He shared with me:
“I’ve met a lot of people through studying at ZSEM and really like the social life in this part of the world.”
When I met up with Yiming, I noticed that he is curious and very open to all suggestions regarding Croatia and its culture. Although we covered a lot of different topics, he kept highlighting the beauty of the city of Zagreb. For him, the park at King Tomislav Square is the most beautiful part of the city. He has a ritual of going to the Dubravica bakery, getting a chicken salad and walking to the square. Every time he sits in another place, sometimes at the sides in the shade, sometimes in the middle to observe the surroundings, flowers and people, and other times he sits next to the fountain.
Yiming also really likes the Zagreb city cathedral and remarks that he has never seen such impressive architecture in his hometown. He sees Asian tourists every day, so he is glad to be here. After carefully looking at the cathedral from up close, he usually heads to a nearby cafe to admire it from far away. He also likes having dinner at the “Hrvatski dom” and says that it is not only one of the most beautiful places in Zagreb, but in Croatia! Yiming praises the level of sociability and the pleasant atmosphere. The Zagorje „štrukle“ are his favourite dish and he wishes to learn how to make them himself, in order to enjoy them in China once he returns.
He values the lifestyle in Croatia which is very different to the busy life in China, where people are quite closed-off. Like a true Croat, he spends a lot of time in coffee shops and believes that he will return home satisfied and with a lot of unforgettable memories. Yiming has been here for only a few weeks and he can’t wait to travel through Croatia in hopes of seeing even more beautiful places.