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Who better to answer this question than John Rogosic?!
He will tell you that Split and the surrounding areas have always been a part of his life. His father left Croatia to relocate to New York decades ago, but they still visited every year. Therefore, John has always maintained strong ties to his extended family and friends in Croatia. At some point, it has become apparent to him that traveling back and forth between the United States and Croatia is not something he wants to do anymore and that Croatia is the place where he wants to be.
So, one thing led to another and John ended up being a guest of our podcast series that focuses on internationals who live and work in Split, as well as Croatia. Between arriving back to Split and sitting down to chat with us about his life here, he for sure did not just enjoy all the wonders Split and Croatia have to offer, but he got busy. And by busy, we mean decided to start Split’s first-ever international school. Set to open its door for the first time in about a month when the new school year starts, Split International School is something John is passionate about:
“Split is the largest city in Dalmatia, and over the last decade has begun to transform into a global city, rather than just a tourist destination. Foreigners are realizing that the Dalmatian lifestyle, climate, and culture are exceptional, and are looking to relocate here permanently – we want to do what we can to make that transition easier for their families. The need to start an international school was already apparent here in Split, so it might as well be us, and it might as well be now. Looking at 5 to 10 years down the road, I see a beautiful international school campus in the nearby foothills overlooking the city of Split, the islands, and the sea. I see students from different countries and continents, as well as local students from Split, not only working together academically, but socializing, playing sports, and laughing together. Our goal is to build a sustainable school that can serve the Split area and also act as a bridge to the broader international community.”
After obtaining his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John gained a lot of experience as an educator working with children at a school in California, so it isn’t surprising that he brought that knowledge and passion with him from “across the pond”. Upon his arrival here, he decided to turn his skills into something as real and tangible as an actual school that is also a great opportunity for Split’s future. But that is not the only thing John has been working on in Split. In collaboration with the Center for Excellence, he also initiated the FIRST Robotics Competition program:
“FIRST Robotics changes lives. There is no better program for teenagers to experience what it’s like to work on a team on a large-scale engineering project – FRC is as close to real-world engineering as high school students can get. Students are given the opportunity to work closely with industry professionals – engineers, computer programmers, and other adults who share their expertise and experiences with them. As a part of this program, teenagers are also encouraged to give back to their local community – they volunteer their time to work with younger children, undertake community service projects, and learn to become good people. I’m excited to see what this project can bring to Split over the next few years, and personally can’t wait to be a part of it. Opportunities like FRC help drive innovation, not only by helping students develop technical skills but also by building their confidence and giving them experience with professional and organizational tools needed to succeed in a start-up or business. I would love for Croatia to become a regional leader for robotics in the Balkans over the next decade.”
We are so happy John has decided to come back to Split and bring this much infectious energy and so many excellent ideas together with him! We wish him nothing but success in his ventures and invite you to hear what else he has to say in his interview with us.