By Lingyi Hou
Did you know about a special NYU group that, while here in New York because of NYU, aren’t actually enrolled in the school at all? They have dual identities in their life, defined not only by themselves, but also by their partners. In addition to taking care of their other half, they also expect to realize their own growth in the city.
They are the spouses and partners of NYU international students, who have come to New York to stay with their loved ones. I initially met them at the “September Orientation Breakfast for International Spouses/Partners” an event inviting speakers throughout NYU to discuss issues of concern including work, childcare and continuing education with international spouses while offering them a delicious breakfast, held by the Office of Global Service in NYU. There were likely around 40 people attending. Most of them are women, accompanying their husbands to NYU from diverse countries including Brazil, Spain, South Korea, China and Japan. Many are not currently authorized to work in the U.S., and none can access any formal degree of study in NYU. So they have sufficient time to do whatever they want to do.
“So far, I just want to take this chance to explore New York, to experience American culture, and to enjoy the movies, music, museums, parks and people here,” said Jane Ko, a beautiful and fashionable woman from South Korea whose husband is working toward his MBA in the Stern School. “I would cook meals for my husband and take care of his life. At the same time, I am also working on my English skills and trying to get myself used to American style. I like New York, it’s so interesting and diverse.”
In the future, she said she has no specific idea in mind now, although she might possibly apply for a PhD degree program since she has earned a masters degree and has experience in fashion marketing in South Korea. Actually, many international spouses carried their own jobs in their home countries before moving to New York. Now, as they’ve already chosen to quit their domestic jobs, they are more willing to leverage this time to take a break and find a new beginning in their lives.
Besides opportunities brought forth by New York, NYU also offers many valuable resources to help these international spouses enrich their lives and achieve personal goals. The International Spouses/Partners English Program (ISEP) provides non-credit English instruction and the International Spouses/Partners Group (ISG) aimed at gathering the international spouses to meet with each other weekly are all designed for this special group.
In their most recent meeting, they went to the Chelsea Market to have some fun together. It seems that their new life has been unfolding in a way full of surprises and adventures.