RIT Global Spotlight: Croatia

RIT Croatia was established in 1997 and boasts campuses in the popular tourist destination of Dubrovnik (YES they filmed part of Game of Thrones here!) as well as the capital city of Zagreb. RIT Croatia enrolls about 600 students per semester, and courses tend to focus more on “critical thinking, decision making, and leadership.” International Business, Information Technology, and Hospitality are among the most popular majors, however courses are offered in almost every field. Student Spotlight: Nirav Amin - RIT Croatia 1 Nirav is a fourth year Hospitality major from Alfred, NY, who studied abroad at RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik this past spring. He hopes to one day work in hotel management, and credits Dubrovnik as the perfect city to get to know the ins and outs of tourism, as well as how to run a hotel effectively. All of the following breathtaking photographs were taken by Nirav himself. beach 3 Education Abroad: Nirav took four classes while abroad: Leadership and Success, Ecology, American Politics, and Oceanus. Every American student who studies at RIT Croatia is also required to take a course on Croatian history. Nirav credits this short course as one of the favorite parts of his educational experience abroad. Dubrovnik has a rich history and was deeply affected by the Croatian War for Independence, which took place from 1991 to 1995 between forces loyal to the government of Croatia and forces loyal to the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). Reminders of the war are still evident in and around the city. One of Nirav’s professors, born in Dubrovnik, was forced to leave once the war commenced. During one of Nirav’s classes, his professor recounted a story from when she was around five or six years old. It was a normal day, and she was going to get water from a nearby river. All of sudden, a sniper started shooting at her, and she froze. Thankfully, a member of her family risked his life and was able to pull her to safety. Years later, once the war ended and the area stabilized, she moved back to Dubrovnik and began teaching at RIT Croatia! Nirav also praises all of his professors abroad for being very kind, helpful, and sympathetic. When I asked him to describe the campus he said that for the most part, it is one building with four stories where all classes are taken. What a difference from RIT’s main 1,300 acre campus. sunset Cultural Experience: There is never a shortage of things to do in Dubrovnik, and Croatia as a whole. Some of these include island hopping (you can visit three different islands in one day for less than $10!), cliff diving, kayaking, hiking, walking along the city walls (with spectacular views of the city), swimming, fishing, museum exploring, and many more. Dubrovnik also boasts a vibrant nightlife, and is home to numerous nightclubs, bars, and wine tastings. DSC_0192 Even though Nirav took part in all of these wonderful activities, when asked what his favorite thing to do was, he simply said it was hanging out with the locals and grabbing coffee in one of the nearby coffee shops. He recounts this experience: “We would just hang out and talk for hours; it was so relaxed and laid back. And besides, the worst coffee in Dubrovnik is better than the best cup of American coffee.” hillside at sunset I asked Nirav to share a cool story from his experience, and he recounted a night when he and his friend rented two kayaks and went beach hopping on Dubrovnik’s many neighboring islands. By the time they got back, it was almost sundown and they got to view a beautiful sunset from a kayak on the sea. How many people can say they have done that?

One of the islands was a filming location for Game of Thrones! Prince Oberyn vs. The Mountain anyone? One of the islands was a filming location for Game of Thrones! Prince Oberyn vs. The Mountain anyone?   Nirav and his friend also made a stop at a neighboring island to explore this beautiful cave system! Nirav and his friend also made a stop at a neighboring island to explore this beautiful cave system! As previously mentioned, Nirav commends RIT Croatia (Dubrovnik) as the perfect place for any hospitality major. When Nirav first arrived in Croatia in February, he recounts it looking like a ‘ghost town’. However, as the weather got warmer and warmer throughout the spring months, he quickly watched it transform into a dead city to bustling tourist destination, with over 20,000 new vacationers a day. He also recounts how fascinating it was to see individuals from all over the world in one place, as well as the ins and outs of the tourism industry. “I hope tourism doesn’t kill the 2000 year old history of Dubrovnik!” said Nirav jokingly. However, he also stated, “RIT Croatia has something for everyone.” pathway   Other Travel While Abroad: Venice, Italy Venice, Italy On his spring break trip, Nirav was able to travel to Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague. Through RIT affiliated excursions and the hospitality department, he was also able to travel to a nearby winery for free, as well as weekend trips to Montenegro and Bosnia. Prague, Czech Republic Prague, Czech Republic 14 Bosnia In one of his favorite travel memories, Nirav recounted sneaking out of his hotel in Venice, Italy during the middle of the night in order to take some breathtaking night pictures. “Normally abundant with tourists and locals alike, St. Mark’s Square [popular tourist destination in Venice, Italy] is eerily empty at 4:30am.” Day and night comparison of St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. Day and night comparison of St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. stmarksnightAdvice from Nirav:
  • “Bring peanut butter and marshmallows. The peanut butter is awful here and marshmallows don’t exist!”
  • “Plan travel ahead of time and make sure you have enough time and funds.”
  • “Get out of your comfort zone, try something new and most of all…EXPLORE!”

I asked Nirav one final question: Me: “Did you miss the bricks?” Nirav: “I love RIT but…no way. Croatia was just extraordinary, and a once in a lifetime experience that everyone should have.” More of Nirav’s beautiful photos can be viewed here. If you are interested in studying abroad at RIT Croatia, please set up an appointment with a study abroad advisor by calling (585) 475-4466, emailing goabroad@rit.edu, or stopping by their office in Global Village. 13 Written by: Frank McGinn, Social Media Manager  

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