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Studying in Split: Varvara’s story

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


It’s no secret that we love to share stories of people who moved to Split: digital nomad profiles, interviews with various internationals, or via the Split Tech City podcast.

In a way, we also re-discover our city through these stories!

This particular summer we continued this series of sharing a variety of international experiences lived in Split, by focusing on international students. Collaborating with one of Split Tech City’s community membersAspira College – we found some international students like Eva and Montserrat who shared their stories with us and subsequently all of you.

This time Varvara Kalinichenko from Ukraine’s city of Kharkiv sheds some light on her life in Split.

Varvara arrived in Split last September to study Tourism and Hospitality Management at Aspira, and, like many other internationals, found a thing or two to love here in Split.

Why did you choose to move to Split?

“I wanted to study abroad in English, and Aspira College was a good opportunity for me to do so and also learn Croatian on top of it.”

Can you give us your opinion on the benefits of Split and life here?

“I love the old city center with its great history and I also like various local dishes you can try, the beautiful views, and any cozy places around town to spend some free time. For me, it is also especially interesting to get acquainted with tourists who come here from different countries.”

Do you have any suggestions regarding everyday life in Split?

“Even if you don’t know the language, if you learn just a few words feel free to use them when talking to the locals – it is a nice thing to do even if you are here just as a visitor. So, definitely be open and talk to people.

Also – be prepared for a sudden change in weather sometimes and don’t blindly trust the forecasts.” 🙂

Did you connect with someone from Split outside of your student group?

“I met so many interesting people from another university who came to Split as Erasmus students, and – with Split being an athletic city – I also met quite a lot of local people when we went to play basketball or volleyball together.”

How did coming to Split change you?

“I think that not only did coming to Split change me, but also the people who I met here did.

I began to spend more time in the fresh air, I became more open and began to communicate more with people I didn’t know and it became very interesting for me to communicate with people from different countries.”

What is the thing you’ve struggled with the most when you started living here and how did you cope?

“At first there was a little bit of a language barrier – I didn’t really say what I think or what I wanted to say. However, with a little practice, that started to change and I managed to resolve some things that were bothering me.

I have to say; if I had any problems related to my studies or anything related to my everyday life – like finding out which restaurant I should go to – my coordinator Josip Radić helped me at any time of the day. I’m very thankful for that.”

How much did the Aspira team and the local students ease your transition to this new environment?

“Everyone was very helpful! If you ask for suggestions, all the students will help you. I also really like all the teachers – if there is a problem they will always try their best to help you solve it.”

What do you like the most about studying at Aspira?

“I love the overall friendly atmosphere and many interesting lessons we have in our program.”

What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned while living in Split?

“You should come prepared: find out everything in advance and carefully learn about the place where you are going. Prepare for everything by taking into account that you will be far away from your loved ones and you will have to be very independent and cope with everything on your own.

And – have patience – as some services are not very fast here and you have to wait a very long time.”

Is there anything you miss about Ukraine aside from your family and friends?

“I miss my city Kharkiv. Its large parks, its amusement parks, all the gazebos, and my favorite volleyball court.”

Give a few tips about moving here to your past self!

“Stock up on patience. Stock up on food for late evenings. Be prepared to take care of yourself as you’re not at home anymore.”

In the end, share with us a few things you love about Split as a city and Split’s people!

“When it comes to Split I love its architecture, the weather, the nightlife, the sea, and – all the friendly people here! People in Split are very nice, welcoming, and honest.”

We wish Varvara a lot of success with her studies at Aspira and hope her love for Split and life here will continue to grow! 😀

Photos: Aspira


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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