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Josip SkokoJosip Skoko

Professional Soccer Player

AGE: 26


  • North Geelong Warriors
  • Hajduk Split ( Croatia )

CURRENT CLUB: Racing Genk ( Belgium)

As a professional footballer, I find any language to be an asset in my field, as it is always a possibility that I may move to a country where that language is spoken to play soccer. My knowledge of Croatian has been invaluable as I moved to Croatia and played there for four and a half years. Without the knowledge of the language I would have had great difficulty in adapting as quickly as I did.

I have experienced all this as I just recently moved to a Flemish (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) speaking town called Genk.

Here I have realised the difficulties involved with living in a town in which you don’t have any knowledge of the language. Although I am currently undertaking lessons it is true that most people do speak English, which is helpful, but it is always important to try to speak the language of the country as it helps you to become more accepted into the community a lot quicker!

I studied Croatian at the VSL and it was vital to my knowledge of the current Croatian language and grammar. When living in Croatia after a very short period of time I was accepted into the community as one of their own, even though I was a foreigner. This would not have been possible without having this communication medium. I become a part of their community and culture and this later helped me to become the captain of my team at Hajduk Split soccer club. I had become the first foringer to become captain of the club in its whole history.

I have since met many people in a variety of fields just from the fact that I speak Croatian. This has opened many doors for me in the areas of sport, business and friendship. It also helped me keep in contact with my relatives in Croatia, who can't speak English. Most importantly I met my girlfriend in Croatia who since has become my wife. Without having any knowledge of the language we would not have been able to communicate well and our relationship would have been non existent. I suppose the message here is that you never know where life will lead you, so it is always important and good to be prepared and learn a second language.

Dr. Ilija Å utaloDr. Ilija Å utalo (Research Scientist)

Thermal and Fluids Engineering
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

I completed my degree and PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. In the past I have worked as research fellow at the University of Melbourne and Project Metallurgist for WMC Olympic Dam Operations in the desert. Since 1998 I have been working at CSIRO where I use complex flow measurement techniques to help understand the flow fields in industrial flows (thickeners, feedwells, cyclones, burners, grafts used in humans, etc).

One might think that knowledge of Croatian is not valuable to a research scientist in Australia. However, this is not the case as knowledge of Croatian opens up opportunities. In the past I have been paid to translate technical papers from Croatian to English on Zinc electrowinning for Pasminco Metals-BHAS. Currently I am forming ties with the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. Earlier this year I visited the faculty and gave a presentation on my scientific research. In the future I plan to work on a project together with lecturers at the University of Zagreb. It is another way to promote Australian scientific research in Europe and learn from scientific experts in Croatia.

I also plan to give seminars and attend scientific conferences in Croatia. Croatia has a long history of scientific advancements. Leopold Ruzicka was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Vladimir Prelog was awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Even though they both became Swiss citizens they had completed high school in Croatia. Prelog was also an Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb. Other famous Croatian scientists include Nikola Tesla the inventor of the polyphase system of alternating current dynamos, transformers and motors. The unit for magnetic flux density was named the Tesla (T) in is honour. Andrija Mohorovicic discovered the existence of a boundary surface between the earth's crust and mantle. This is now called the Mohorovicic or Moho discontinuity.

For students who are studying primarily science subjects it should be remembered that studying a language, such as Croatian, can help one gain entrance into some science based university courses. When out in the scientific work force having Croatian or other languages on your resume is also an advantage.

Finally studying Croatian has been an invaluable asset in my non-professional life. It has been very helpful while travelling along the Croatian coast and interacting with the Croatian community in Australia. My knowledge of Croatian has also been useful in obtaining additional information for a book I am writing on "Croatian pioneers of Australia" detailing their contributions to Australia's development.