Arriving in Zagreb a few days before our course started, our group had time to meet each other and explore our new home away from home. Zagreb was bustling during the final days of the advent markets and we were very happy to taste some delicious Croatian food, do some shopping, and quickly learnt that some of us are a lot better at ice skating than others.

 

On our first day at campus, we met our hosts and lecturers, and toured the campus and city. On a walking tour, we were intrigued to learn some of Zagreb’s more unexpected facts including the fact that there is a spikey point on top of a building to stop witches, the three chandeliers in the Cathedral of Zagreb came from a casino in Las Vegas, and that in the heart of Zagreb, there is an Irish pub owned by a Russian.  

Zagreb city

 

Our first week of classes were fascinating, with Leo and Hrvoje taking a hands-on, practical approach to learning about how chatbots, augmented reality and virtual reality work and can be used across education, health and business. By playing around with chatbots and using the Turing test, we discovered that it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick out the difference between a chatbot and a human. Meanwhile during our breaks, Lidija, Kristina and Marcela were always nearby to make sure we had a delicious lunch, felt very cared for and most importantly, never lacked coffee. Needless to say, they quickly became our most favourite group of people in Croatia.

 

Exploring with the group!

 

During our first week, we were also fortunate enough to have two business trips. The first was to Hrvatski Telecom, Croatia’s largest telecommunication company. The team gave a fantastic presentation on the impact of technology across all parts of the business, and the extent to which essential skills have changed and will continue to evolve in response to new technologies. An interesting element here is the way Hrvastki Telecom integrate innovation into their business model. The highlight of the visit, however had to be meeting Pepper, the humanoid robot who is designed to autonomously move, understand emotion, listen, speak, and most importantly give out free hugs.

 

 Haytham and Pepper 🤗

 

Our second business trip took us to Njuskalo H.R and Styria Data Science, where we all admired the luscious greenery and comfortable break out rooms in their architecturally designed offices. Here, we listened to some interesting presentations explaining how data analytics combined with image processing can be adopted in targeted digital marketing.

 

St. Marks Church

 

 

After a week of learning, our brains were bursting full of new ideas, concepts and potential consequences, so we indulged in a luxurious sleep-in before a day of relaxing in Zagreb. Some of us set off to explore the zoo, others the lake, and two of us (myself included) went on an unsuccessful mission to locate a castle (we still don’t know where it is!).  Feeling refreshed after our day of rest, the following day, we got our study caps back on to prepare for our quiz, complete our homework and brainstorm for our final project.

My name is Dominique and I'm from Brisbane, Australia. I currently study criminology at Griffith University and am about to enter my final year. I'm particularly interested in the interactions between technology, society and crime and how these will evolve in the future.