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Americans Adjusting to the Croatian Lifestyle!

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

It's been a week since we've settled into our place in Dubrovnik, and we are absolutely loving it! While I realize this is a short period of time and I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I've already gotten a good feel for typical day-to-day life in Croatia. Let's dive in to what it's like for two Americans adjusting to the Croatian lifestyle!

First of all, Croatia is SAFE! It ranked number 15 in the 2022 Global Peace Index. The US is number 129. Safety was something that initially worried me because I didn't know much about the Balkan states, but I can tell you now that I definitely feel safer here than I did in Pittsburgh!

Ryan and I took a Croatian language course while we prepared to move to Dubrovnik. We only got through the first few lessons and we thought we would need to take a crash course upon arriving here. Boy were we wrong! Everyone speaks English, and most locals speak 2-3 languages due to the amount of tourism in the area. TV shows and movies are played in English with Croatian subtitles, making it easy for us to watch TV and easier for Croatians to learn English!

We're staying in a family-oriented and pet-friendly neighborhood called Lapad. Like I explained in my previous post, the people here are friendly, helpful and seem to be welcoming to Americans. The apartment is what we expected and it's similar to many in the States... some things are just a little smaller!

Scroll through the pictures above to check the place out! The kitchen is tight but functional. Surprisingly, I love it! I still appreciate a big island countertop, but I won't lie.. cleaning a small kitchen is a major perk. After dinner cleanup is a breeze, allowing me to have a glass of wine in my hand much faster than I normally would! The balcony is our favorite spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and for Ryan to work!

There are (teeny tiny) washing machines, but most places don't have dryers here. You see a ton of clothes hanging on laundry lines everywhere you go. At first, I thought this would be no biggie! I figured I'd do a load every morning and I assumed it would just become a part of my routine. Nope! I have to schedule laundry according to how many times Ryan wants to work out that day and the weather (wind strength, especially!). I learned this the hard way when he pointed out a pair of my undies across the street. Oops! I'm deciding to laugh about that one, and yes, I did pick them up while a few neighbors pretended they weren't watching!

Grocery shopping is different than what we're used to back home. Smaller fridges mean more frequent visits to the store and having less staple items on hand. After my first grocery shopping trip, the cashier was shocked by the amount of items I purchased and I had some trouble getting everything back in the Uber. I still need to get used to buying less, more often! I also love the fresh markets around town. They are similar to Farmer's Markets and are a great place to meet locals and chat about Croatian cuisine!

A little more on shopping: there isn't much in Dubrovnik. Traveling to Split (3 hours by car) to go shopping is commonplace. I haven't seen any clothing stores and unfortunately, there's no Prime. Amazon does deliver, but everything seems to be coming from the US so it's triple or even quadruple the price you'd normally pay.

A pleasant surprise for us was the amount of foreign cuisine! In the Old Town, there is a highly rated sushi restaurant that Ryan and I are excited to try. There are a few Mexican restaurants and Chinese food too! This was something Ryan and I figured we wouldn't find here. We even planned a big Chinese food dinner the night before we left the US because we didn't think we'd get our sesame chicken fix until we came home.

Because we're doing the Schengen Shuffle and want a lot of flexibility, getting a car wasn't something we could swing, but it seems like it would be pretty easy to have a car here had we planned a longer stay. Most places have garages and there is plenty of parking around town. Also, Croatians drive safely (compared to other European places I've been like Naples, Italy - they are the craziest drivers!). Fortunately for us, the city is very walkable and when it's raining or we just want a ride, taxis and Ubers are everywhere.

Dubrovnik Croatia Lapad Drone Work From Home View

All in all, we are so glad we picked Croatia for our first digital nomad destination! It is a wonderful country with a unique culture and a ton to offer. Our transition from America was very smooth and I can't wait to experience more and continue learning in this amazing place! I highly recommend Dubrovnik for Americans looking for a place to move abroad. If you're feeling hesitant like we were initially, take this as your sign to drop everything and come... now! Croatia is joining the Schengen Zone and adopting the Euro early next year, so it may limit American visa flexibility (more on that in a future post!).

Around November 30, I'll come back and add things I've learned to this post!

Do you have any specific questions about living in Dubrovnik? Let me know in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer them!

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

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