10 May 2018

University of North Florida students immersed in Croatian culture

I absolutely loved this program. I feel like I’ve learned so much and am returning home with a new global perspective. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to explore the world, go on an adventure, gain some global knowledge, and who wants to learn about another culture. 


In one activity-packed week, from 29 April – 7 May 2018, ZSEM organized a study abroad program for a group of 20 students from the University of North Florida (UNF), also its exchange partner university. The program involved  lectures, company visits, opportunities for networking with ZSEM’s local and international students and, of course, exploring Croatia’s capital city, its most famous Plitvice Lakes National Park and the coastal city of Zadar.

UNF student, Adam Harrell, commented the program:

Being abroad in Croatia was a great experience. I loved experiencing the culture and seeing how people live there. 

The purpose of the visit was to expose the students, taking the Service Marketing class taught by Dr. Courtney Nations, to various ways in which services marketing is carried out across businesses in Croatia. During company visits to companies in a wide range of sectors, students had to record their observations of services marketing as preparation for their final course assignment.

The company visits began with a tour of the Bolfan winery in Zagorje, Zagreb’s countryside where students got to taste 4 sorts of wine throughout a delicious lunch. At Palace Dverce, where the Mayor of Zagreb welcomes special guest, they got to tour of the venue decorated in furniture that is over 300 years old. Following this, the Zagreb Tourist Board gave the students insight into Zagreb’s development over the last decade.  Meanwhile, Impact HUB showcased its space and community of entrepreneurs and social innovators that offers resources and a platform for networking and collaboration. At IBM Croatia, the UNF students learned about IBM’s impact on the local community and businesses, whilst the director of the American Chamber of Commerce gave a thorough overview of the economic situation in Croatia and how US companies have entered the Croatian and EU market.

The Plitvice Lakes National Park administration provided an opportunity for one of their staff to share with the group developments in the park’s capacity management. The final company visit, to Pelagos Net Farm, involved a boat trip to Zadar’s archipelago where students were just meters away from observing tuna at a tuna farm being fed. There, they also got to tour the freezers where the company keeps the tuna feed.

UNF student Charles Lester applauded ZSEM students who assisted with the program:

The ZSEM students is what made the difference for me. Connecting with same-aged people with a different cultural background was my favorite aspect of the trip. I would not have experienced Croatia the same without them. I want to return not just see more of Croatia, but to see the friends I’ve made here once again.

Check out the full photo album of the program here: