"I talked to so many people who told me the same thing - you know that "cereal aisle moment" - when you are overwhelmed by the choices in America? Or alternatively, I'd hear - technology in America has changed so much, I have no idea what people are using now and how to make myself fit in. The challenges seemed universal and there didn't seem to be any good resources to manage that return. I had faced similar challenges upon my own returns in various forms and wanted to leverage my experience with coaching, returning to America, and desire to work with folks who had lived abroad to fulfill this emerging gap."
Priya has spent nearly 10 years living abroad and traveling. She's experienced the transition back home in numerous forms, and has talked to hundreds of expats and returnees about their experiences and challenges.
Priya grew up in a military family, and lived in Europe as a young student, returning to find the challenges of navigating daily life in small town America. Her love for travel and exploring cultures and landscapes, however, didn't diminish, and she spent a college career in International studies, studying abroad, learning a foreign language, and how to tell people's nationality by their shoes.
After University, Priya joined a volunteer service program, spending a year discovering India. Despite the identity and stomach challenges it was probably the most rewarding overseas experience she's had. It was returning from this trip that really cemented the idea for Nextpat. Returning from a city of several million to one of maybe one million with stories of her changes and experiences only to realize that the weekend agenda for most people consisted of college football took a huge adjustment and some deep searching to understand how to structure life to preserve the lessons, changes, and experiences obtained overseas.
Recognizing that this was a challenge for others as well, Priya sought out the vast reserves of the Internet, only to realize that the resources were few and limited. But, while the seeds for Nextpat had been sown, it would take a bit more experience for it to be born.
Priya found a career based primarily overseas with regular returns to homebase in the States. This line of work introduced her to many more expats than the previous overseas experiences. In discussion with expats both who remained overseas and those back home, it became clear how much expats craved some sort of a "culture shock" re-introduction to the States. They often felt far more prepared for the challenges of a new overseas environment than to adjusting back home.
So, taking her own experiences, in consultation with others, and coordinating with teachers, Priya decided to develop a program dedicated to serving returning expats figure out what's next. Priya worked with teachers, her own experiences, and research to develop a curriculum and apply life planning skills to work with expats on their next path.