Featured Alumni Abroad

Foreign universities, especially ones in UK and USA, mainly look for two things in new students: fluency in English and confidence presenting ideas. Unfortunately, the Croatian school system develops neither.

By joining TRY theatre and participating in its programme, the following students have managed to “liberate” their English and their ideas and today play a prominent and successful role in established Western universities.

TRY is a


Ana Filipović – Hood College, MD, USA

I’m a rising senior at Hood College in Frederick, MD, studying Business Administration with a concertation in Marketing. Before I enrolled in college, I took a gap year, with the main focus of volunteering and exploring the world around me in hopes of finding what I am most passionate about. I stumbled upon TRY Theatre in Rijeka, Croatia and I was surprised when I found out the theatre classes were in English. Prior to my gap year, I graduated from the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, an international high school where classes were in English. Attending TRY Theatre during my gap year helped me maintain my English skills and improve my vocabulary in preparation for going abroad to start my undergraduate education. I did something I truly enjoyed – acting and meeting local students who were passionate about learning English through acting. I created friendships at TRY that are lasting up to this date. I shared my personal accomplishments with the TRY crew and thanks to the support I had, I became more confident in the decisions about my future. I learned about the importance of having a creative outlet in your daily life, which helps you to get to know yourself on a whole different level. I discovered that limitations I set up for myself were not actually limitations and that I can always do better if I devote myself to my goal. My favorite part of the TRY was the relaxing atmosphere during classes, preparation for the plays, choosing which character would fit us the best and getting to know the people I worked with. Our end goal was to produce a great play that will be enjoyed by the audience and this required great team work and devotion of each individual. Thanks to our amazing teachers at TRY, we learned to respect and help each other, and look forward to the plays. TRY also taught me to accept feedback I received after the rehearsals and plays and work towards improvement.

My favorite memory from being a part of TRY Theatre is getting ready for our play Clinically Same, calming each other right before we went on the stage and later celebrating our successes with my fellow actors and actresses plus our mentors and family/friends who were proudly cheering for us the whole time.

I consider TRY Theatre to be a great addition to the city of Rijeka and extremely beneficial for the community, especially the students. My gap year was definitely enriched by TRY and I would recommend this to middle and high schoolers because it provides additional practice of English after school, helps you get to know yourself, make friends, face fears and get out of your comfort zone. There is so much more in life that your comfort zone does not cover. So why not try the outside world with TRY Theatre? ‘Break a leg’ and enjoy your experience at TRY!


Elizabeth Malnar – University of Glasgow, Scotland

I’ve been with TRY Theatre since its day one and my theatrical experience would be incomplete without it. It has given me the opportunity to learn immensely through numerous performances, rehearsals, and workshops. From learning the basics of the trade to perfecting my English and other skills, it all required sharing thoughts and ideas, giving and receiving a lot of constructive feedback, and supporting fellow classmates while working in a fun and supportive environment. I can now say it equipped me with the practical and personal skills necessary to face the challenges of everyday life.

One of the moments at TRY Theatre that amazed me over and over again was when a pair of students would get up to present a scene they were given beforehand. They would present the scene on a bare stage with no lighting, make-up, costumes or props. It was just the students acting out the script, doing the best they can with what they’ve got. It taught me that it is possible to produce a piece of magic basically anywhere, it just takes willingness and a little commitment.

TRY Theatre directed me onto the course I’m currently studying at the University of Glasgow – Music and Theatre Studies. Even though I’m now far from Rijeka, I’m still deeply attached to this ever-growing theatre community, always eagerly awaiting to see new productions and witness young people flourish.


Silvia Juravić – Graduate from University of Warwick, UK

With my recent degree in Film Studies from the University of Warwick, I will be living and working in London this Autumn. My journey to get to where I am today began while I was in high school and I decided to follow my dreams and try and get into the art industry. Even before this, I knew I wanted to explore what is out there in the world and that in order to succeed in the field that I wanted to work in; I have to expand my horizons and see other places. America was my first choice, but my mother (like all mothers) thought we would not see each other enough, so I decided to find some place in Europe instead.

During high school I was part of TRY Theatre as my main extracurricular activity. This is important because one of my mentors there, Ivan Verunica, went to University in Scotland, which inspired me to apply to study in the UK. The fact that TRY classes were held in English, and that my other amazing mentor, Sierra Verunica, gave me valuable advice during my application processes to various universities in the UK, definitely helped me to get where I am today. Acting classes gave me an enormous confidence with my English and expressing myself coherently, while Ivan and Sierra always supported all of the attendants of TRY to follow their dreams and inspired them to strive for the best. I was part of TRY for two lovely years. I decided to audition as soon as I saw it was an acting school held exclusively in English. TRY was one of a kind, especially in Rijeka. I was always passionate about acting and theatre, but when an opportunity arouse to do that in English it was a dream come true. Even though I applied to act and improve my English skills, those two years made me a part of the TRY family and I met some amazing people that I will always think of wherever I am and some great friends for life. I will always cherish the memories when I performed in one of the first plays that TRY made, “Without Hamlet“. The hard work, the people, the atmosphere, I can still remember everything like it was yesterday, and I always like to go back to my old photos which bring a big smile to my face.

I would definitely recommend TRY to anyone that has a passion for acting, theatre and English. It’s a perfect combination of creativity and improving language skills. Also, TRY is amazing for anyone that wants to meet new and fun people, get inspired and work hard for something that will result with a great play and beautiful experience.


Nikola Fanton – University of Kent, UK

TRY Theatre changed my life. This is probably the most cliche thing I’ve ever written, but it’s true! I joined try in my second year of high school, not knowing a bit about acting. I just thought it might be fun, well, my mum did, and forced me to come. I did like it though! It was way more than acting. TRY is a language school, a place to make great friends, a place where you can let out your frustrations as a character and a place where you can just relax and be yourself. And that was the most important thing. TRY’s helped me build up confidence for things that are way bigger than a drama school. I’ve never been an amazing actor, and I doubt I’ll ever be Hollywood material, but I also doubt I would be where I am now if it weren’t for TRY. The confidence to go on stage and speak, the confidence (and knowledge) of a foreign language, the ability to say two sentences to a crowd without having to prepare them on paper and rehearse them for ages, those are skills you’ll always have use for.

We did rehearse, though. A lot. The preparation for every play would start with us getting bits of the text and trying to act it out. Then we’d discuss how it went, what we thought, and how the story should move on. The focus was really on figuring out what the characters are like and which character would fit which actor best. So by the end of the day, by the time the play was on stage, we had a play and a company that were made for each other.

My favourite play was without doubt The Six Sisters. The six Yugoslav states, represented by the six Titon sisters, are about to go their separate ways. Four foreign investors, representing four wealthier countries, come in and try to take anything they can while the sisters fight over everything they could think of. And I think it’s my favourite play because it hit the hardest. Because it gave us a very clear picture of who we are and where we stand, and it being shown so clearly comes as sort of a shock, even though everyone knew it. My character, Juergen, is the German investor, the leader of the Company who is joined by Francesco, the Italian, and Agapios, the Greek investor. Juergen is a very down-to-earth, very restrained and self-controlled person. He takes no nonsense and gets the job done. And to act a character like that, I had to put some effort into being more like that. Juergen is a cold person who doesn’t show emotions openly, but he also believes that people around him are idiots, and he’s bound to get annoyed at that. He does get angry, but it’s the kind of angry we rarely see. No shouting or hitting or any sort of open anger, but one you notice in someone’s voice and posture and it sends chills through your spine. I also did a great job doing the German accent.

In a few months, I’m leaving Croatia for a university in England. And, to be honest, I’m completely terrified. Of a lot of things. But the one thing that doesn’t scare me is the language. Yes, school taught me the grammar and some words, but TRY takes that and puts it to use. Makes you actually speak English and realise by yourself how it’s all supposed to work. Even outside of TRY, we’ll often keep speaking English to each other. So I know that socialising in a new place, in a new country, would be that much easier.

I would suggest anyone who has some free time, anyone who wants to build up confidence and learn how to speak and move on a stage, anyone who has the will to try something new, to try TRY. It’s way more than acting.