What High School Students Can Learn From Summer Travel to Croatia

When high school students talk about traveling to Europe, the obvious places that come to mind are France, Italy, Greece, Spain…But recently, there has been a rising star on Europe’s travel circuit: the central European country of Croatia has been making waves in the high school summer trip world, and for good reason.  The country is home to stunning scenery, vivid history, and fun activities for all ages. Croatia hasn’t always been easy to visit.  It has a vivid history of political upheaval and civil war, but is now one of the safest countries in the EU.  Croatia is divided into twenty different counties (which were re-established in 1992) including the capital city of Zagreb, the latter having the authority and legal status of a county and a city at the same time.  Although located in central Europe, Croatia is not landlocked.  It sits upon the Adriatic Sea, and many beautiful cities and villages dot its coastline.  Croatia also has the largest number of islands in the Adriatic, with over seven hundred islands comprising its archipelago.  Only forty-seven of the seven hundred islands are inhabited, in part due to insufficient economic funding.

Last year, Atlas Workshops visited the cities of Split, Hvar, and the beautiful island of Korcula in an effort to study the economy of a growing island.  As with all of our trips, this one tackled a specific problem, and focused on themes of business, sustainability, and entrepreneurship.  We posed the problem to our high school student participants of creating a business model that would increase Korcula’s economic viability while maintaining its natural charm.  As Korcula is already a thriving tourist destination, our biggest challenges was how to preserve the island’s beauty while helping it succeed financially.

This summer, Atlas Workshops is going back to Croatia for a new project.  The small island of Badijais one of Croatia’s completely uninhabited islands.  Our goal is to bring development and tourism to the island, while again making sure to preserve Badija’s natural resources.  We will achieve our goal through a combination of research, meetings with locals, and even 3-D mapping.  Our approach is very hands-on and educational, although all of the learning takes place outside of the classroom. The coastline of Croatia is a perfect backdrop for our studies, and we will make sure to have plenty of adventures, whether it be kayaking, making homemade pasta, or swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic.

The last stop on our trip is the ancient walled city ofDubrovnik.  Recently, Dubrovnik has gained global attention for providing the backdrop for King’s Landing on the show Game of Thrones.  The city is the biggest tourist destination in Croatia, and is home to intricate fortresses and old walls.  During our time there, students will take a ride in a cable car to the top of a mountain, explore the architecture and history, and finalize their projects.  A visit to Dubrovnik is an enchanting destination for a high school summer trip and a beautiful way to end any visit to the country.

For more information about our Global Innovators 2016 trip to Croatia, please visit atlasworkshops.com/summer!