I moved from Canada to Zagreb to pursue my Master’s Degree!

by Angela Madjer, a Chicago Gal & an RIT Croatia alumna

When it comes to finding and deciding on a master’s program you wish to commit to, it can be quite daunting given the numerous options that exist around the world. Monika Karlović wanted to find a program allowing her to use the knowledge she gained during her undergraduate degree while expanding her knowledge in business and strategy development. Realizing that there wasn’t a program that fit her criteria in Canada, where she was born and raised, she started broadening her search and found exactly what she was looking for in — Zagreb, Croatia!  Monika packed her things and made the move from her Oakville, Canada to Zagreb, where she now lives and is pursuing her Master of Science degree at RIT Croatia!

What was your deciding factor for choosing to move to Zagreb to pursue your master
’s degree?

I have always loved Zagreb and was curious for a long time about what it would be like to live in this city. When I was researching for Masters programs, I found RIT’s Master of Science program in Service Leadership and Innovation, which is an American graduate program delivered at their Zagreb campus, that gave me the expansion I was looking for. I am interested in service industries and strategy design for organizations, specifically medical organizations, and this program is flexible enough to allow me to explore this industry in my capstone or thesis. The large deciding factor for me was the fact that I can stay in Croatia with this degree as well as go back to Canada and still have it recognized. It made my decision to move to Zagreb a much easier one because I knew even if I did not want to stay I could easily go back to Canada.

What has your experience living in Croatia been like?

Living in Zagreb has made me love coffee time, more so than when I would have my daily dose of Tim Horton’s. You will never run out of places to drink coffee for hours with friends and it is hard to get tired of the scenery and architecture in Zagreb. There are tons of places to go for hikes when the weather gets warmer and so many markets and festivals to explore on weekends. Traveling inside Croatia is 100% worth it and easy to do, so it has become something I love to do when I have a day or two off.

My appreciation for Croatian culture and history has grown immensely since my move to Zagreb. I have learned so much about the country and customs from speaking with locals, who are extremely friendly and exploring the history of the city. Speaking Croatian is increasingly becoming easier every day and it’s something my mom and dad are very happy about.

Naturally, the thing I miss the most is family and friends. I am fortunate enough to have some friends and family who live in Zagreb and Samobor, but not seeing immediate family takes some getting used to, but routines develop and FaceTime makes these adjustments much easier!

What is studying in Croatia like?

I enrolled at RIT pursuing my service leadership and innovation degree which is about understanding and anticipating organizational strategy and changes over time. It equips students with a way of thinking that allows them to pre-plan the route of their organization or job based on trends, future customers and other factors that competitors may overlook. It is versatile in that it can be applied to all service industries and organizations as well as in all departments of the organization. but I have definitely changed and altered my future goals based on this program. I began planning out the type of business plan I want to implement as an entrepreneur in the future and am utilizing the ideas and theories from the program to help me foster this goal. Opening my own business is not something I would have pictured for myself last year, but after being in this program, even for a short while, I have developed my goals and outlook on my future.

Any advice for people considering studying/living in Zagreb?

If given the opportunity to move to Zagreb, even for a short amount of time, I would recommend trying it. I think this is a positive experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You will learn so much about your heritage and about yourself in the time you spend in a new city. It is a different kind of independence than moving to another city close to home and you may even find yourself wanting to stay for longer!

About RIT’s Master of Science Service Leadership and Innovation Program
RIT Croatia offers you the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Service Leadership and Innovation in Zagreb, from a leading U.S. university, Rochester Institute of Technology. The curriculum and the study plan are aligned with the standards of education at RIT. Classes are in English and combine both online and in-classroom sessions. The program is delivered by professors from RIT's Saunders College of Business in Rochester, New York, USA. The program is designed for a broad array of professionals who aim to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in leadershi




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