International Spouses In A University Setting: A Marginalized Population In Need Of Support

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Max Saito


International spouses (the spouses of international students who are studying at the university on an F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant visa) are often a marginalized population at U.S. universities and do not receive institutional support as international students do. This research expands on existing literature regarding the adjustment of university spouses and expatriate spouses, with a focus on institutional support during the initial arrival period. The study examines how The Ohio State University (OSU) can help its international spouses to acclimate to life in the United States during the first three months of their sojourn. A survey of OSU international spouses gathers information regarding the areas in which the spouses need assistance, the sources of information and support used by the spouses, the level of cultural adjustment the spouses experience, and similarities and differences among various groups within the population of international spouses. Recommendations include identifying OSU’s international spouses, providing specific pre-arrival and arrival information, welcoming the spouses, offering an orientation, beginning a spouses’ support group, and seeking allies on campus and in the community.


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