Korean women living in the United States as student wives. Academic Article uri icon


  • Korean students' wives who travel with their husbands to the United States while they pursue academic degrees often experience the extremes of assimilation into the host culture. The purpose of this study is to address the following questions: (a) What are the processes used by Korean women to adapt to life in the United States, and (b) what are the barriers they encounter, as wives of students and mothers of their children, in adapting to this new life? Fourteen Korean wives were interviewed. All interviews were completed in Korean and transcribed verbatim. The study reveals eight phases to the basic social process of adjusting to life in the United States: preconfronting, confronting, discovering, undergoing crisis, seeking, reorienting, reflecting, and reconfronting. These were observed to be dynamic and recurrent ongoing phases that are likely to repeat themselves. The study findings provide health care practitioners with a better understanding of Korean wives' adjustment to life in the United States and suggest the development of culturally appropriate interventions.