1 August 2016

Ana and Frank Amelio - Expat in Croatia

Ana and Frank Amelio - Expat in Croatia

Ana and Frank Amelio is a couple who live in Croatia, a sovereign state located at the crossroads of Central Europe and the Mediterranean. 32-year-old Ana works as a web designer, while 36-year-old Frank has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. While Ana is a native of Croatia, Frank is originally from the United States. He relocated to Croatia due to personal reasons. Presently, the couple has been living in Croatia for four years with their daughter.

When asked about their most difficult experience as expats in the their host country, the couple noted that it  involved waiting for the required paperwork needed to establish residence for Frank and their daughter, as the documents that were needed took a while to arrive. “There were some delays with the postal service and we had to submit the request for paperwork twice,” Mr. Amelio explained. Both Mr. and Mrs. Amelio also remarked that the hardest aspect to their expat experience so far involved being away from friends and family who are in USA.

It can be challenging for expatriates to be so far away from familiar faces back home, and one way for them to establish new contacts and meet others while abroad is by joining several clubs and associations in their host country. Furthermore, expats who are undergoing some difficulties with the required formalities and documentation can look to professional immigration services to help them handle the latest immigration laws and policies.

Find out more about Ana and Frank Amelio’s experiences in Croatia in their full interview below.

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Ana is from Croatia, and Frank is from USA

Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: We moved from USA to Croatia because of personal reasons, Ana’s mom being in car accident.

Q: Where are you living now?

A: We are living in Croatia now.

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: We choose Croatia because Ana is from Croatia and like we mentioned above, we had some personal reasons to go there

Q: How long have you been living in your host country?

A: We have been living in Croatia for 4 years.

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Croatia?

A: The most difficult experience has been waiting for the paperwork we needed to establish residence for Frank and our daughter to arrive from USA and Croatia.

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in your host country? What was your experience with these?

A: Getting the visa wouldn’t be an issue had the paperwork arrived sooner. However, there were some delays with the postal service and we had to submit the request for paperwork twice. Health Insurance is something you are responsible for yourself, and it isn’t really a difficult process once you have the rest of the paperwork.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: We are living with our family.

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Croatia? How did you manage to find a social circle in Croatia?

A: It wasn’t hard meeting other people. Croatians are generally friendly. As far as other expats go, we are living in an area that doesn’t really have many other expats. We mainly socialize with our neighbors.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: In the area that we live, the best thing you can experience is the nature and the calm of a rural area. There are lot of historical places to see, castles being the main attraction. Another thing that is prevalent in our area are all the thermal spas. Every summer there is also a medieval tournament.

Q: How does the cost of living in Croatia compared to your home?

A: A cup of coffee is usually around 7, 8 kunas (local currency) or around $1.5. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant largely depends on the type of meal you are having and it varies between 30-40 kunas which is roughly $5-$6 per person. If you are in Zagreb area you can find places like McDonalds and KFC as well. For meals in expensive restaurants, again, the price depends on the type of meal you are having but generally a family of five maybe looking at a cost around 400 kunas or rougly $ $60-$70 for the entire family. Bottle of wine is usually around 30 kunas (roughly $5 for a better brand) and the cheapest pack of cigarettes is 20 kunas or $3.34 per pack.

Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Croatians are generally warm and friendly people, and they like to drink their wine at all occasions, no matter how big or small - if it’s a social gathering wine is always included!

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Croatia?

A: Positive sides are definitely slower pace and less crime and violence. The downsides are weak job market, unemployment, and recession.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes, we do miss home and family but we think that’s only natural since they are an ocean away.

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: We maintain contact with our family via Facebook, emails and video chat. And occasionally, they send us care packages of the things we miss from USA that we can’t find here

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: We plan on going back to USA someday in the future.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: The hardest aspect has definitely been being away from friends and family who are in USA.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in Croatia?

A: Bureaucracy can be quite slow and cumbersome. Be prepared for some things to be different than in your home country. In general though, Croatia is a small and rapid developing country keeping up with the latest trends. Croatians are for the most part warm and friendly people.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: When it comes to other blogs about Croatia, the two we would recommend in a heartbeat are FrankaboutCroatia.com and chasingthedonkey.com. We would appreciate the link back to our blog which is Our Blended Marriage.