International Student Spouses and the English Language

Co-Creating a Low Stakes Language Learning Community




international mobility, international student spouses, internationalization of higher education, language learning


In the context of the internationalization of U.S. higher education, millions of international students have come to study at U.S. institutions. Some students, particularly those pursuing advanced degree, bring their spouses. As part of a larger study, we set out to examine the experiences of international student spouses at a Midwestern university. This article examines the experiences from the perspective of grappling with the English language, a theme cross-cutting through spouses’ experiences. Experiences with English, the focus of this article, are both a discrete element of spouses’ lived experiences and a useful way to understand challenges and opportunities not directly related to language. Utilizing qualitative case study techniques, we found that English language is experienced through anxieties as well as ambitions by the participants in our study. 

Author Biographies

Adam Thomas Grimm, Michigan State University, USA

ADAM GRIMM, MA, is a doctoral candidate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. His research interests lie in international and global education as well as education policy.

Dana Kanhai, Michigan State University, USA

DANA KANHAI is a PhD candidate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. Her research interests include international engagement, leadership and mentoring, and faculty development.

Jessica Landgraf, Michigan State University, USA

JESSICA M. LANDGRAF is a PhD candidate in Educational Policy at Michigan State University. Her focuses include comparative early childhood policy and non-state actors' involvement in the policy making process


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How to Cite

Grimm, A. T., Kanhai, D., & Landgraf, J. (2019). International Student Spouses and the English Language: Co-Creating a Low Stakes Language Learning Community. Journal of International Students, 9(4), 1172–1190.



Research Articles (English)