Dear Mr. Editor,
Thank you very much for publishing such a provocative article.
I am pretty much sure that the majority (if not all) of educated professionals who
emigrated from Croatia can write hundreds of pages of similar stories. The Croatian
attitude in general can be summarized in "once you leave for an academic education
abroad - better stay there".
As a native of Croatia and a medical professional, currently employed by a
teaching hospital in the USA, personally I met with such an attitude too many
times. It was almost absurd to listen one of the organizers of an international
medical conference hosted last year in Zagreb, who stated that in his opinion
"most of the Croatian medical professionals employed abroad work as a service
personnel". I am still not sure what did he mean by that (janitors, maybe). Even
better story comes from my spouse (medical professional herself, employed by
another US teaching hospital), who was told during her last stay in Zagreb, that
one - today prominent Croatian public figure, educated abroad - was "probably
just washing dishes during his stay in the USA"!!!
What to do when being confronted with such a narrow-minded jealousy? Politely
smile, and return to the USA (to wash dishes and mop floors, of course). I can
not help myself being ironic, but this is a huge problem of close-minded
mentality and no government can ever change that. Croatians are maybe able to
celebrate as a national hero one Berkley fellow when he wins the Olympic silver
medal (most of them maybe were not aware of the fact that his enormous talent
and potential were fully developed abroad), but this is as far as their
enthusiasm for expatriates goes. And that is what makes me so sad.
Stanislav Lechpammer, MD, Ph.D.
Boston, MA, USA