The birth of Young American Expat
Richie Santosdiaz liked the name "Young American Expat" and bought the domain around January 2015. He didn't know what to do with it at the time so just did like everyone else was doing - created a blog with it! That lasted for about a year and sadly that section has been deleted but most of the pieces were reposts of interesting expat articles out there. However, it allowed for Richie (and later Colleen Boland) to use it as a way to practice their writing skills (which you'll see later paid off).
In 2016, as Richie started doing more thought leadership pieces, he has a resurgence of Young American Expat and decided to focus more on his life abroad (as people were fascinated that he has lived in 6 countries). Part of the resurgence was Richie tried to approach a major expat publisher to do some writing pieces geared towards the younger expat, as most of the resources and support groups were geared towards the older expat (the typical story of the usual affluent business person who gets offered a high expat package to relocate their family overseas). However, they completed ignored him and instead were interested in their traditional audience. Finally, what motivated Richie in 2016 was, in 2015, although he didn't put much effort in his hobby, the website organically was getting quite a bit of views.
Therefore, in 2016, Richie started storytelling more about his life. A successful way he did that was launching the Instagram account YoungAmericanExpat in May 2016, where Richie documented his life abroad. It grew pretty fast, as Richie in 2016 was travelling a lot for work too, so he was documenting his life abroad and travelling mostly for work. Later in 2016, Richie's friend Colleen Boland got on board and the two began showcasing their lives.
In 2017, as Richie was doing more thought leadership pieces, he got the attention of IIE Global (they are the ones that manage Fulbright and also the #generationstudyabroad campaign in the USA) and became a commitment partner, quite a nice honor as the majority of their partners are universities, embassies, and higher education providers. Richie realized that, coupled with the organic growth of the website, that Young American Expat really can be a showcase of not just his life and Colleen's, but the nearly 9 million Americans currently abroad. Many have very interesting stories, especially both the young Americans in their 20s and 30s, who often get ignored as the priority tends to be the older expats. In addition, some of the older expats were once young expats and have since established themselves and have successful international careers. It is in a way inspiring to see these former young expats willing to inspire and help their current young expats and also future generations.
From the way Young American Expat keeps innovating, at present, we are dedicated to showcasing the lives of Young American Expats. It has been an honor, given how niche we are in the focus, to be a major voice for the American expat community, especially to the younger segment in their 20s and 30s - both current and former. Through digital storytelling, our mission is to tell the lives and stories of the nearly 9 million Americans overseas.
As the website continues to average and grow in viewership, we have not only revamped in 2017 but also in April launched a new YouTube and Facebook page as a way to further reach out our storytelling to the world.
Hope you enjoy our website and our mission!
-Richie Santosdiaz and Colleen Boland
A special thanks to our friends and partners, especially during the early days before the revamp, as well as our recent partners featured in our links section!
WATCH OUR OFFICIAL VIDEOS TO FIND OUT MORE