It’s not always fun being the “trailing spouse
.” Sitting at home staring at the four walls wondering how to spend your time on a H4 or F2 visa? Just because you can’t work and make money doesn’t mean you have to sit idle, bored, listless and frustrated!
What can I do to keep busy on H4?
- Learn cooking
- Find local clubs of your hobby or interest
- Figure out how to get a driver license
- Volunteer in your field of expertise (take care with this depending on your visa status)
- Learn about finances and manage household finances
- Americanize your resume/ CV and get it critiqued
- Go back to college
- Learn more about American culture
- Become an apprentice
- Work on getting EAD based on your spouse’s immigration status
- Get a pet
- Start a family
- Learn about your local community
- Treat your home life like a job and plan your day as if it were your job
- Explore your true interests and hobbies
- Self-improvement through life coaching
- Get a gym membership or use your apartment’s gym facilities, if available
- Learn a foreign language
- Americanize your English or increase confidence in talking to Americans
- Take the TOEFL
- Take GRE/GMAT
- Find out how to ‘Americanize’ your degree and update your qualifications to the U.S. standards
- Volunteer at your spiritual community (church, temple, mosque)
- Teach Americans about Indian culture or your Indian language
- Give Indian cooking classes
- Learn sewing or some arts and crafts
- Get involved in a community club
- Find out about international wives, expat groups, or newcomers clubs
- Network in your career field and find out how your career path is similar or different in USA.
- Join a book club
- Take free classes on line via MIT Open courses or search tutorials on YouTube
- Network in your career field
- Join Toastmasters
- Get involved in a charity
- Learn about other cultures by getting involved in other cultural organizations outside the Indian community
- Learn dance or music
- Get involved in your religious organization or local cultural associations
Did any of these almost 40 ideas resonate with you? If not, that’s ok. We can work together to brainstorm ideas that fit you, your personality, your career goals, interests, location, resources and other variables. I’m up for the challenge, are you?
So, you may now ask, “Jennifer you have given us so many ideas, how can I implement any of these ideas?”
Of course some ideas are easier said than done. One way to get these ideas implemented is by planning and talking with your spouse or other friends or family you already have in the U.S. However if your network in the U.S. is limited, that’s where a coach like me can fit in to help you fill in the gaps. I can help you in as little as two sessions brainstorm the aspects of your life that are most important to you and help you create goals to help you realize comfort before, during or after you shift to the U.S.
Note: Advice given in this article if unclear should be advised by your attorney. As each person’s situation is different, and the laws change from time to time, it’s best to advise with your immigration attorney on some matters; especially in relation to making money or the exact nature of volunteer work.
Thank you for reading.
End of Part 3, Series on Help for H4/F2 Visa Holders
Read Part 1: Do Not ‘Settle’ For Settling Abroad: Plan Ahead For the Best Cross-Cultural Adaptation
Read Part 2: Questions Every To-Be America-Bound Desi Spouse Should Ponder
Author of this post, Jennifer Kumar, an American has experience planning moves abroad having recently moved back to India for a second time. I understand the situations faced by dependent spouses and living in a new country trying to figure out how to fit in and find a place in a new community, country and culture. Feel free to follow her on Facebook by clicking here.