The low-field surface nucleation and evolution of the inhomogeneous magnetic state in strongly coupled Fe/Gd ferrimagnetic multilayers is measured via grazing-incidence x-ray magnetic circular dichroism. At Tapproximate to0.7 T-0, where T(0)similar to110 K is the ferrimagnetic compensation temperature, the inhomogeneous state nucleates at the surface. At nucleation, the surface state extends tens of interatomic distances into the bulk (approximate to200 Angstrom), a direct consequence of the strong interlayer coupling. At Tsimilar toT(0), the inhomogeneous state penetrates throughout the bulk, while homogeneous magnetic states occur far below and above T-0. Surface termination has a dramatic effect on the nature of the inhomogeneous state.