Friday, August 2, 2013

Hard life for spouses in the USA

Living abroad can get particularly tricky and even harder when you are the one who has to follow your spouse; in fact while your significant other is busy at researching, studying, working and so on, you are left home alone stranded. Depending on the visa you get, there are several limitations and that can have a major impact on your life.
For many working women this can be a huge setback, in fact you will suddenly find yourself isolated socially and professionally, unless your job travels with you and you are used to confinement. Your life will change anyhow, and even more so if you are left without any work. Finding a job while being abroad, it is not only a basic economic need but also it makes you feel professionally and personally accomplished. Don’t underestimate the social life you have in your own home country, if you are used to seeing and working with a lot of people, you can find yourself extremely lonely. In fact, you might start feeling like a second-class citizen!
The USA prides itself as champion in human rights, from women emancipations and human rights in general, however spouses of foreign students/scholars/workers cannot work, and fulfill themselves in any way they wish despite they came into the country legally. Especially young women cannot stand the idea of idling away. The fact that there is something wrong with this status is proven by several cases of suicides among foreign women but I am not aware of any official numbers or research about this topic, but like many others I only heard their stories. Some universities are providing some sort of services for spouses from language courses to cultural activities. However, even though this is done with the best intentions, international spouses feel sometimes patronized despite their cultural and educational level. Most of them, in fact, are as educated as their husbands with BAs, MAs and even PhDs. 
After depicting a depressing scenario, let me show you how you can work LEGALLY in the USA: which again strictly depends on your visa. If you are lucky to be on a J2, you can apply for an employment authorization card: paying a $300 fee (the application process is pretty straightforward but it takes more than a month) you can obtain this card. Now, the ludicrous part though is when you are all set with the paperwork and you meet with people who still refuse you a position because you don’t have the green card!! Come on!! Are you kidding me!! With all the illegal immigrants working there you are giving me the hell of a time when I show you I have everything in order?!?!
The first thought that comes to mind when you imagine your life abroad is how exciting it sounds compared to you dull every day life at home. I am not referring to extreme scenarios like wars or similar situations where moving to another country is really a necessity and not a choice. However, dependent visas are a modern form of submission and reducing emancipated women to that state can only make their lives miserable. Unfortunately, not without consequences, in the worst cases we deal with suicides, in other cases, we see women falling apart, bringing an end to their marriage or leaving the USA and returning to their home country without their husbands. 
Better salaries and working conditions, future prospects, overall higher quality of life…this is all good, but is it all gold that glitters?  



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