Displaying items by tag: Wives of Korean International Students

Using in-depth interviews with 21 Korean international student wives (ISWs) and 8 student husbands, this paper explores the ways in which spousal power relations and the division of household labor changed for Korean ISWs after their migration to the U.S. In contrast to previous studies on ISWs that unanimously reported that the status of wives lowered after migration, this paper finds that the spousal relations of Korean ISWs were bifurcated between homemakers and female students. While homemakers became subordinate to their student husbands after migration, female students maintained egalitarian spousal relationships. In addition, whereas homemakers’ share of household labor and childcare responsibilities increased abruptly after migration, female students enjoyed a much more equal division of household labor. This paper discusses various factors that led to such divergent paths: the goals of migration, legal/social statuses and dependence on husbands, wives’ paid employment, the extent of wives’ social networks, and the living arrangements after migration. Although this study is based on the experiences of Korean ISWs, the findings can provide insights into the lives of other middle-class temporary migrant women across their countries of origin, because they may experience the same gender dynamics as middle-class temporary migrant women who are not allowed to work after migrating to the U.S. due to their similar types of visas.


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