Zagreb… to study? How to combine work and pleasure on a holiday

Zagreb… to study? How to combine work and pleasure on a holiday

It’s April, 2019, and I’m in the final two months of my Bachelors degree. And I’m also sitting in Heathrow Airport, waiting to board my flight to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb.

Going on holiday during the most stressful months of my degree might sound like the antithesis of how to pass and graduate, but read on. A complete change of environment and being away from my home comforts was the perfect antidote to my stress, and I’d recommend it to you to if you’re looking for a way to combine your passion for travel with your need to work hard to fund the airfare!

I studied politics at university, which meant that almost everything that I required in my degree was at my fingertips on my laptop, but I’m confident that these top tips will help you too. Unlike my other trips, where I’ve taken a more laissez-faire approach to finding accommodation, the first stage of planning this trip was setting a destination and finding the right place to stay there. I settled on Zagreb due to the good weather, affordable cost, and that it wasn’t somewhere I was already thinking of going – remember, this was a study trip, not a holiday. Concurrently, I was looking for affordable accommodations, and I settled on an AirBNB flat that had its own separate bedroom, office, kitchen, and balcony – the perfect study set up. And after that, I was ready to go!

Fast-forward to the trip, and I was doubting my gamble that this would give my studies the boost that they needed. Couldn’t I have studied somewhere else? Gone home to my parents? Gone to the library? Yes, probably, but this was about getting through this final stretch of my studies, in the environment I’m at my most joyful in – a new culture. I boarded the flight, and reassured myself that this was the right decision.

Landing in Zagreb a few hours later, I travelled into the city and got to work straight away. My aim for the trip was to finish the first draft of my dissertation, and I had an ambitious daily target that would get me there, with one day off to explore. I had a rigid daily routine that at home I’d have struggled to follow, but in a new environment, felt so much more achievable. I woke up early and studied all morning in the office, with short refreshment breaks. And after lunch, I had one final burst of academic activity, before going out to explore the beautiful sights of Zagreb. As I didn’t have a big list of sights to see, I was able to wander at my leisure, taking in the sights and sounds of Croatians bustling along the cobbled streets and sipping coffee in the outdoor cafés of Tkalčićeva Street. And after a few hours of sightseeing, I returned back to the apartment feeling refreshed and ready to do some more work, this time from the sunny balcony.

And it really was as simple as that – a demanding study schedule, but in the environment that kept me calm. Of course, I still experienced academic stress during my time away, but being in a new environment gave me a new burst of energy and determination to get the work done, and explore. Do you think that this approach could work for you too, or do you study best with home comforts at hand?

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