Friday, September 28, 2012

Woes of an International Student's Wife

When my husband decided he wanted to pursue a masters degree in the U.S, I wholeheartedly supported him and thought that not only was it a great opportunity for him but it would give me the chance to experience a new place too. Little did I know that this wonderful opportunity came at a price as it meant that as the spouse of an F1 visa holder I would hold the F2 visa as his spouse which clearly states that I would not only not be able to study further in the U.S but also unable to work.
We were fortunate enough to be in a position to fund and support ourselves during his course of study but the idea of sitting pretty and doing nothing did not particularly appeal to me. As I had a Masters degree In Design from Australia, my husband egged me on to start building up my online portfolio so when I got to the U.S I could at the very least work online through websites like odesk and vworker, which outsource work worldwide. It came as a great disappointment when we learnt that even that was not allowed due to the visa restrictions placed on an F2 dependent. 
I did a great amount of research hoping that I could find some way to work to keep myself up to date and fresh, as taking two years off from working seemed ludicrous. To my great dismay there was no such option, to the extent that some online forms went as far as to suggest that one could not even sell an item on craigslist or eBay if you happen to sell it at a greater price than it is worth.
I seemed to think that I was facing this highly frustrating situation alone and no one would understand it but after reading the Businessweek article ‘Catch F-2 for Spouses of Foreign Students’ I realized that there were many more qualified professionals out there whose careers were put on hold while they supported their partners graduate school dreams. I felt a tiny bit less helpless. Here were so many qualified and experienced people all going through the same dilemmas I was facing. They were dealing with it in their own unique way from volunteering to using the opportunity to start a family.
Some business schools and larger universities also provide great support for the partners or spouses of their students through clubs and support groups but nothing much is offered by smaller colleges or universities. And so I begin my journey to see what the next two years hold for me. I hope to start my own blog to help me record my journey and hope the little things I learn along the way help someone else too.
P.S. I started writing this guest blog before our big move to Minneapolis and so between packing up and moving writing took a backseat. It has now been two months since we arrived in Minneapolis and we have finally settled into our own place. So far I have kept myself busy settling in and the boredom hasn't completely set in. To be honest I am enjoying the little time off. :)