A Study of the Status and Social Acclimation of International Students' Wives at Iowa State University and Ames Community

Mitrushi, Julia
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This qualitative study explores the characteristics, needs, and expectations of the international students' wives in Ames, Iowa. Participants included 89 international students' wives from twenty different countries. International students' wives enter the United States on a dependent visa status, and they experience a unique set of challenges while accompanying their husbands.

The purpose of this study was to gain some insights on how international students' wives perceive their internal and external resources at arrival, and the types of obstacles they have to overcome to achieve a successful adaptation to this transitional role. It also tested additional exploratory questions related to goals for the sojourn, occupational and homemaker role reward value, learning behaviors and type of learning activity undertaken, domestic violence and immigration status.

Results indicate a great diversity among wives. Personal variables seem to predominate over situational factors, with personality traits, and individual and couple history appearing as more defining of psychological well-being than cultural distance and racial background. Gender-role orientation and work family values were a key factor in the degree of culture-shock.

Results are addressed by discussing challenged faced by international students' wives, the role of marital relationship as well as the necessity and nature of programs offered to them during their staying in Ames, IA. Based on this data the study intends to provide some suggestions for services and programs which could further facilitate early intercultural adjustment and enhance their psychological well-being during their stay.