Enterprising Alumnus Gabriel Golcher Bringing Expats Together

Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Gabriel Golcher

Sawmill Society member Gabriel Golcher, a 2016 alumnus, has been cited by Forbes for encouraging innovation through ExpatBuddy.com, which is bringing together expats, like himself, in an online community.

Entrepreneurial thinking and creative ideas are needed now more than ever amid the worldwide COVID-19 public health crisis and these troubled economic times. That’s the belief of alumnus Gabriel Golcher, cited by a Forbes columnist among nine entrepreneurs for encouraging innovation in their tech sectors.

Golcher started expatbuddy.com early in 2018 to help people who are adjusting to living outside their native country—expats—with an online community that’s open to providing support and a helping hand.

Click here to see expatbuddy.com. 

“In these trying times, it becomes even more important for expats to connect and support each other. Regretfully, because of social distancing, it’s more challenging than ever for expats to meet. Through ExpatBuddy, expats can meet virtually and form those bonds that will serve them in their new home,” says Golcher, who describes the website as “the safety net to make expats’ move abroad an amazing, positive adventure.”

Golcher knows the issues that expats face since he has encountered them as a college student and a budding entrepreneur, now living in Austin, Texas.

He knew little about Rose-Hulman and its home community of Terre Haute, Indiana, when he ventured from his homeland in Costa Rica in 2002 to study computer science, software engineering and mathematics.

“I wanted to get a quality education in computing and I realized that Rose-Hulman was the place for that,” says Golcher, a 2006 alumnus. “I knew nobody before arriving, but it didn’t seem to matter. There was a great sense of community on campus. Everyone was so welcoming. That’s what I’m trying to replicate with ExpatBuddy. For many people, what is a watershed, exciting moment, is soured by the realities of living in a new country. With ExpatBuddy we can make moving abroad the true adventure of a lifetime, like it was for me.”

Recent events amid COVID-19 have not changed this, he states. While fewer people are traveling, current expats still need to connect with others and have ready access to a group of people that will support them. Challenges for expats include isolation, homesickness, family challenges and culture shock.

“Our commitment and resolve to expats remain as strong as ever,” says Golcher. “The American Dream is still alive and well, and sought by people throughout the world.”

And, his resolve as an entrepreneur is ever more resilient, despite the fact that most startups fail. His path has been filled with a long list of failures.

“In my opinion, if you’re not failing, you’re not learning,” Golcher remarks. “A mistake is not a problem if it makes me better. I have grown expediently, personally and professionally, every step along the journey. Is ExpatBuddy going to make it, I don’t know. I hope so. But if not, I will pick myself up, learn another valuable lesson and get ready to try again.”

Golcher is among a growing group of entrepreneurs, most of them fellow Rose-Hulman alumni, who are passing along advice and support to others within the startup community through the institute’s Sawmill Society. It is a forum for sharing insights, experience, and inspiration with each other while providing access to resources like Rose-Hulman's career services and Rose-Hulman Ventures.