Many spouses who come to the U.S. are not as fluent in English as the principal F-1 or J-1 visa holder. Therefore, he/she may face great frustration and difficulty communicating with others on a daily basis without your assistance. You will find that your study, research and library time are critical. Therefore, your spouse is likely to feel very lonely staying at home when you are busy at the University, in the lab, or, in the library. You may not be available to assist in simple tasks outside the home (such as shopping) where English fluency may be necessary. Remember, family members will want your time and attention, and you will need to balance those demands with your academic work.
In order to alleviate some of this loneliness, International Student and Scholars encourages students to bring their spouses/children to our weekly international coffee hours as well as other UW activities. We also have a weekly American Conversation Club that spouses are welcome to attend in order to help with their understanding of English. All of these activities provide an excellent opportunity to practice English, to learn about day-to-day living in the U.S., to become involved in community activities, to socialize with other spouses, to learn from each other's experiences.