We talked to Michael Freer, Director of DNA (Digital Nomad Association) Croatia about the non-profit they set up and its role in connecting digital nomads with the local community.
DNA Croatia was set up more than a year ago; the idea came to life when digital nomads and remote workers in Croatia started pushing the government to launch a digital nomad visa. When the visa came to life, the next step was to formalize the way Michael and his associates were helping digital nomads who arrived in Croatia, thus DNA Croatia was born.
“It’s hard to count the number of people who have helped”, Michael explained; digital nomads reach out to DNA Croatia with questions in emails or messages, these are at least 2 a day. Then there are others who interact with the non-profit on a secondary level through events and meetups.
Michael highlighted that Croatia has been attracting digital nomads for a long time, long before the visa was launched. The Mediterranean country has several hot spots for nomads like Split, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Zadar and they working on consolidating their status as hotspots for nomads. He added that one can understand the growth of the digital nomad community in Croatia from the increasing number of remote workers and digital nomads frequenting co-working spaces.
High on the agenda of DNA Croatia is the interaction between digital nomads and the local community. This can come in the form of a beach clean, a charity event or a humanitarian action fundraiser, but can also have other forms.
DNA arranges for digital nomads to speak in schools and universities about getting opportunities abroad through remote work, which they believe can help locals gain skills without causing a brain drain in Croatia.
“When people move, there are always questions of impact and integration” Michael said. He added that Croatian people are eager to share their unique culture that combines Mediterranean and Slavic elements and digital nomads are eager to help and experience.
DNA is currently working on consolidating the steps it has taken and expanding its reach to more cities and villages.
“Come with an open mind and heart, and you will be met with the same” was Michael’s tip to digital nomads coming to Croatia.