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From Kazakhstan and France to Croatia: Dana Mussina and Alexandre Gulyas

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


As a reason for their move to Split, both Dana and Alexandre said: love. If you ask us, that’s a pretty powerful reason for anything in this world we live in.

Dana was born in Taldykorgan (the capital of Almaty Region in Kazakhstan) and she came here at the beginning of 2017 to study at the University of Split. Before that, she studied at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan. Now she works at Include as an Area Manager for Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. And from the beginning of 2021, she also started to conquer the Croatian market.

Dana Mussina, Include employee

When asked what made her stay beside her work, she said: “I found my love in Split, while I was studying…” That is not the only thing that is keeping her here, because, when we asked her about the benefits of life in Split now that some time has passed since her arrival, she listed some positive things right away:

“People, nature, food, safety and again people!”

Alexandre is Dana’s colleague at Include working as an Area Manager for France. He was born in Evry (France) and studied International Business and Marketing in Paris, Pittsburg, and Sydney. Naturally, after discovering that list of well-known cities he lived in, our curiosity got the best of us and we had to ask why he moved to Split in November of 2017. The answer was very simple: “Love.”

Alexandre Gulyas, Include employee

But, besides love and his work, the most important benefit of living here, according to Alexandre, is quality of life you can’t find anywhere else:

“Split is the ideal city for families or single people looking for a nice place to live, where people are very nice and open.”

We wanted to know about the struggles they’ve had and how they got past them, and Alexandre immediately said: “Language!” He also admitted he’s still struggling with it, which we don’t find so unforgivable as Croatian is very difficult to learn. Dana had an interesting answer to this question.
What she struggles with the most is our tradition of drinking coffee for hours on end, but she cheekily adds that the current situation might have resolved that problem somewhat. We had to laugh at this because we think it’s really charming and can agree with Dana to some extent, as some of us have sometimes found ourselves in a hurry and our friends were lamenting the fact we have less than two hours for coffee.

Another funny answer we’ve received from Dana was regarding the tips about moving here she has for anyone considering following in her footsteps: “Polaaaaako!” And she is right! “Polako” means “slowly” in Croatian and here in Split we do tend to slow things down. So, take it easy and no rush!

Joking aside, Dana added:

“Always ask if you do not understand something, Croatians are always ready to help. Also, you will get cheaper coffee if you know some Croatian.”

According to her, the A1 level of Croatian will make life much easier for someone considering staying here for a longer period of time.
Alexandre had another great piece of advice for incoming internationals:

“Never give up, however hard it can be to live in a foreign country, and give your best.”

In finding out about daily life here Alexandre had help from the locals he’s met and in Dana’s case it was her husband, friends, and co-workers who eased her everyday struggles.

We also had to talk a little about their work: what they like about working at Include, how did working in Split change the way they do things, etc.
Dana: “I really like my team, the remote work days we get and the bonuses are also very nice! Include is a fast-growing company and working here I have the benefits of being part of a multinational team and gaining international sales experience while thinking and working in four different languages.”
Alexandre: “The multicultural work environment is great! I really like my team and that Include is an innovative and youthful company with amazing products that is challenging me in my work.”

We love to hear that they love living in our hometown and find working here so great, but we also had to ask them if there is something they miss from their respective home countries. For Dana, what she misses the most are her family, friends, local food, natural home-made products, nature, snow, Kazakhstani jokes and music, and big weddings. Alexandre misses his family and French food. We can empathize with those feelings, but we are also happy that, despite those longings they have, they still call Split their home.

Love was the reason they are here, but when we asked them what they loved about Split as a city, they also had plenty of things to say.

Dana: “I love the locals, nature, Marjan, sea, and konobas!”
Alexandre: “For me, it’s the sea, mountains, people, food, and quality of life here that I love the most.”

Love might have brought them here and it is also what makes them stay, proving once again that old saying: “Love makes the world go round!”


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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