Foreign students in Croatian universities rise by 20%: ‘It’s safe and not expensive’

Foreign students in Croatian universities rise by 20%: ‘It’s safe and not expensive’

University of Law in Zagreb (Photo Credit: I. Vinković / Zagreb Tourist Board)

ZAGREB, November 10, 2022 (Hina) — The number of foreign students enrolled in Croatian universities rose 20 per cent to 1,715, despite the deterioration of Croatian universities in the more comprehensive global university index.

The Times Higher Education Index is made up of 1,600 universities from 99 countries, the University of Split and the University of Zagreb are ranked between 1001 and 1200 and the University of Rijeka under 1200.

According to the Ministry of Science and Education, which cited data provided by the University Computing Center, 1,715 foreign students are currently enrolled full-time in higher education institutions in Croatia.

According to the Croatian Statistical Office, the total number of university students in Croatia in the academic year 2020/2021 was 161,077. This is the lowest number of students since 2013 when it numbered 166.061, showing a 3% drop over seven years.

Medicine is the most popular degree program

The ministry’s website lists 116 degree programs taught in English, including those of public and private higher education institutions. Sixty-seven of these programs are available in Zagreb, 20 in Split, 14 in Rijeka, seven in Dubrovnik, and six in Osijek.

The largest number of foreign students enrolled in the medical school is in Split (247), followed by the medical school in Rijeka (219) and Zagreb (186).

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb has 148 foreign students, while between 50 and 90 foreign students are enrolled in RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik, Osijek Medical School, Split School of Economics, Verne Zagreb, Algebra Zagreb and Zagreb School. Economics and Management, Faculty of Dentistry, Zagreb.

Germans, French and Slovenes make up nearly half of the foreign students

A total of 473 Germans, 132 French and many Slovenian students study in Croatia, making up nearly half of all foreign students enrolled in Croatian higher education institutions.

There are also 119 students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 93 from Israel, 66 from Montenegro, 54 from Italy, 50 from Spain, 37 from Norway and so on from Serbia, 30 from the United States and several from the United Kingdom, 22 from Russia and 15 from Hungary.

Difficult modification, helpful teachers

Rajesh Ramal from Nepal recently obtained his Master’s degree in Automotive Computing and Communication from the Faculty of Electrical, Computing and Information Technology (FERIT) in Osijek.

“Honestly, I never thought about studying in Croatia,” he told Hina.

His original plan was to continue his studies abroad. Although he was aware of Croatian universities ranking, he chose FERIT after finding himself in Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since he does not speak Croatian, his biggest challenge was the fact that most of the resources available for the courses were in Croatian, even though the program he chose was in English.

The adjustment was difficult, but the teachers were at his service, motivating and encouraging him. This helped him complete his courses on time and with good grades.

Increase of foreign students in Croatian universities by 20%:

School of Electrical, Mechanical and Naval Engineering in Split (Photo Credit: Ballota / CC BY 3.0)

Croatia was not the first choice for Brazilian Nicolas Andrade Muller da Silva either. He chose Croatia because of its financial situation and found the program of his choice, computer game development, in Algebra in Zagreb.

“It is not expensive for students from poor countries. Croatia is quite safe and there are a lot of jobs for students on offer,” he told Hina, adding that he was considering a Ph.D.

Unlike Rajesh and Nicholas, Norwegian Kasper Fenstad enrolled in medicine in Split because he had heard of Split before. He said the admission quotas for medical degree programs in Norway are rather low, so many Norwegians are studying medicine abroad.

“The image of Split University is growing from year to year,” Kasper told Hina while explaining why he chose a Croatian university over those in Poland, the Czech Republic or Hungary, which are close to the Norwegians.

“By comparing the experiences of my colleagues from different universities and countries, I realized that our university is good,” he said.

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