Social life and leisure in Croatia

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What kind of associations and clubs are there in Croatia and what they do?

Majority of civil society organizations (associations) in Croatia are sports organizations followed by organizations active in the fields of culture, economy, technology, social issues, health, humanitarian causes, ecology and protection of children, youth and family life. There are also organizations of war veterans and the victims of war.

Civil society organizations very often include volunteers in their work. Volunteers are citizens that are engaged in a certain activity without receiving monetary compensation for their work. Anything that a volunteer does is carried out in their free time and from their own motivation.

You can freely participate in the activities of civil society organizations and clubs. Some of them are running social inclusion and integration projects in order to help migrants, asylum seekers and persons granted international protection. They are offering opportunities for socialization, cultural and recreational activities, training courses, volunteering experiences. You are also free to get involved with civil society organization that works with other issues, like protection of the environment, women’s rights, children’s rights, sport, science, culture and art, etc.

Are there migrant or diaspora organizations in Croatia?

There are not many organisations and projects that are initiated or led by newly arrived migrants and refugees in Croatia. Most of them are initiated by the Croatian NGOs working together with or for migrants and refugees. Recently there are several migrants’ initiatives initiated and visible. Those initiatives cover a wide range of activities, from (self)employment to culture and education and address the needs and obstacles that migrants and refugees face in Croatia.

African Society in Croatia ( promotes social inclusion of people with African origin in Croatia, helps them and supports in order to prevent feeling of isolation, social exclusion and racism and promotes African culture such as music, art, traditional crafts and customs.

Taste of Home ( is a social business primarily based on support, solidarity and knowledge/experience exchange. It gathers people of different origin who organise cooking workshops, public show-kitchen activities and language courses.

Why should I involve in leisure activities?

Participation in leisure activities is an important factor for the general wellbeing of a person. It can be very beneficial while you are an asylum seeker and you wait for the decision on international protection to be made, which can last for a long time.

It can be also very beneficial to take part in leisure activities when you are granted international protection – it gives you an opportunity to meet different people and get to know community you will live in.

Different associations in Croatia offer leisure activities such as sports, creative occupation (art, music, handcrafts etc.) or education. If you have legal residence in Croatia, you have access to all leisure activities open to the general public as well as volunteering.

Certainly – sometimes a lot of courage is needed as, for example, the language barrier may be a hesitation factor. But it also may provide you with opportunities to learn and practice Croatian language.

Further information & links  

What they can offer your

RCT- Rehabilitation centre for stress and trauma

–       Croatian language classes

–       Psycho-social support

–       Support with integration

Croatian Legal Center

–       Legal assistance

Croatian Red Cross (Department for Asylum and Migrations)

–       Help with studying, purchase of books, clothes, medicine, food, membership in libraries, clubs, money for travel expenses, housing equipment, public kitchen, etc.

–       Support with inclusion of children and women

STATUS M- Center for the Advancement of Professional Work with Youth

–       Support in involving men and boys in creating society based on equality

Center for Peace Studies

–       Support with integration

–       Legal assistance

–       Intercultural workshops

Ženska soba- Center for sexual rights

–       Medical, legal, and psychological counseling,

–       Information on sexual health and sexual rights

ATTACK! – Autonomni kulturni centar Autonomous Cultural Centre

–       Participate in concerts, exhibitions, talks

–       Support in integration

JRS – The Jesuit Refugee Service

–       Integration workshops for women

–       Playrooms for children

–       “Computer room”

–       Dancing and music workshops

–       Croatian language classes

Biciklopopravljaona (BicPop) –

–       Space, tools and advice on how to repair a bicycle 

–       Get involved as a volunteer

–       Learn some practical skills

Are you Syrious

–       Information and support

–       Food and clothing (“Free shop”)

–       Studying assistance for children

Udruga Praktikum

–       Art, music, drama, and film workshops

Volonterski centar Osijek

–       Various volunteering activities you can join

Hrvatsko planinarsko društvo Zagreb

–       Mountain hiking and field trips

–       School of hiking

Football club “Zagreb 041”

–       Football school

Croatian Youth Network (Mreža mladih Hrvatske)

–       Trainings, information and educations for youth



Can I participate the activities if I don’t speak Croatian?

This depends greatly on which organization is providing the activity. For some it will be enough just to know some English. For others, basic Croatian will be necessary.  If an organization will provide with an interpreter, knowing Croatian or English might not be necessary. However, learning the local language is highly recommended and is necessary for full participation in your community.

What is volunteering and how can it benefit me?

Volunteering is engaging in activities of an organization without receiving money for your work.

Volunteering can help you gain skills, knowledge, meet new friends and do something good for your community and people in need. It can also help you to learn the language faster, to learn how to get around the city easier. It might make it easier to find a job as well.

What are integration and inclusion?

Integration and inclusion are processes of joining and participating in the life of your community. When a person feels integrated or included, they feel accepted and welcome in the community but also accept other people, their culture and way of life. Learning the local language and volunteering can help you with this.