KATJA Kraljevic is one of many Croatians seeking education abroad as the country suffers from a severe brain drain.

The 19-year-old moved to Glasgow in 2017 to start her degree in history and politics at the University of Glasgow, enticed by high-quality education and free tuition.

“It’s very difficult to think about having a permanent life in Croatia when you look at the political, economic and social situation and the rising influence of extremism.

“Right now, there is a massive brain drain in Croatia and every young person who has the opportunity to get out the country is getting out.

“I would love to be able to settle in Scotland – I think it’s a place that wants me here.”

However, as a foreign national, Katja’s future in Scotland is jeopardised by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

“I remember reading an article the day after Brexit happened that in some town in England people had put up posters in a store that said ‘Poles get out’, which I thought was really shocking. I was thinking if this is how people treat Polish people, how are they going to treat other people from Eastern Europe? But then in Scotland it’s not like that.

“It’s so easy to forget Brexit is happening because no one around you actually seems to support Brexit.

“I’m also travelling around the time Brexit is happening and renewing my passport at the end of March, so I’m coming to the country on a completely clean passport, and I’m not sure how well that is going to bode for me.”

Croatia is the newest member of the EU, gaining membership in 2013 “It was something Croatia was striving towards for so long, because not only does it come with a lot of economic and social benefits, but the ability to really associate with a European identity is very important to a lot of people.

“And then you see the UK, which seems to benefit so much from the EU, but has just decided to completely throw that all aside because they want sovereignty.”

Katja marched for independence last May alongside thousands of others.

“I think it was probably one of the first times I felt like I can call myself Scottish.

“When you think of nationalist movements in other countries they are usually associated with some rough things like terrorism and far-right ideology, but Scottish nationalism doesn’t seem to be tearing down every other country – it seems to be supporting Scotland in the goal of becoming its own nation.”

Upon finishing her degree, she hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

“In Croatia the media is being curtailed pretty much daily by the government and it seems like left-wing and centrist sources are being shut down because they are not espousing the views of the government.

“Being a journalist in Scotland gives you a lot of opportunity to be open and actually tell the truth, which I think is one of the values that a good journalist should have.

“It’s nice to see the truth does prevail.”