Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Patricia R. Leigh

Second Advisor

Nana -. Osei-kofi


The decades after WWII witnessed a substantial increase in the number of international students coming to the U.S. In the course of decades, international students and their families have become essential both to the economic and cultural life of campus communities throughout the country. Yet, academic institutions continue to overlook the needs of a very important segment of this constituency: accompanying spouses of international students.

Currently, appropriate programs and services targeting the needs of spouses of international students are lacking. Except sporadic efforts by a few institutions, suitable programs targeting the contemporary needs of accompanying spouses are virtually absent.

Based on interviews with twelve women from eleven different countries, this study examines the day-to-day experiences of female spouses of international students as they reside in the U.S. with legally dependent status. While accompanying spouses are both men and women, due to the disproportionately small number of men who come as accompanying spouses, this study focuses on the experiences of women who sojourn in the U.S. to await the completion of the studies of an undergraduate or graduate student spouse. This study provides insights into the challenges as well as benefits of coming to the U.S. as an accompanying spouse. From the stories these women told, large numbers of accompanying international spouses are well-educated individuals, some with years of professional experience. The study revealed that these women, due to their legally restricted status, tend to live for years in a type of social isolation filled with economic and emotional struggle.

A strong message for academic institutions emerges: while there has been a historical link between international spouses and community volunteer organizations serving this group, community networks no longer have the capacity to meet the needs of this group. Hence, as universities worldwide compete to attract international students, the existence of university services and programs for accompanying spouses could eventually become a key factor in determining where couples decide to enroll.


Copyright Owner

Yalem N/a Teshome



Date Available


File Format


File Size

180 pages