Helping Your Filipina Spouse Adjust to the USA

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Let’s say you’ve finally made it through all that red tape and brought your wife or fiancee to the USA.  How can you make her feel at home and help her adjust?  I’ll share some suggestions I believe you’ll find helpful.

Staying in Touch

Your wife will want to stay in touch with her family.  The internet, of course, is very helpful for this.  There are internet cafes all over the Philippines and it shouldn’t be too hard for family members to get online and chat with your wife.  Internet access for smart phones is becoming common as well, so her family may be able to communicate that way.

Texting can be done through a program called Chikka.  You can set up an account to send free texts.  Just warn the recipients that responding (from their cell phones) will cost money (it cost more than a regular text message if I remember correctly).

Calling (either cell phones or a land line) is a different story.  For some reason calling to the Philippines costs a lot more than calling from the Philippines.  Your best option for inexpensive calls to the Philippines is probably going to be Globe Duo.  Whoever you want to call will need to get a Globe number/SIM card (Globe is one of the main cellular companies in the Philippines).  This subscription service will set it up so that you can call that one Globe number with unlimited minutes for a monthly fee (around 10$).

Sending Money

I won’t repeat everything I’ve said before about money and sharing, but your wife will probably want to occasionally (or regularly) send money back to her family.  There’s more than one good service for this, but I would recommend Remitly.  What’s nice about this service is you don’t pay a transfer fee for the economy service (3 business days).  They still make money off the exchange rate, but you save a few dollars on the fee if there’s no emergency.  I’ve rarely encountered a situation where a family member has to have money in 24 hours, so the economy service is what we used most of the time.

Filipino Media

Your wife will be able to get all kinds of Filipino media through video websites like Youtube.  Some cable companies carry channels catering to the Filipino community, especially if you live in a large city or place with a significant Filipino population.

Here’s another option that is available to anyone with an internet connection: The Filipino Channel.  You can subscribe to this channel for about 12 bucks a month and watch all kinds of content.  This looks like a perfect choice if your local cable provider doesn’t offer some kind of specialty channel for Filipinos.  It would also work well for those who don’t want to change their cable service just to get that one channel.

Filipino Food

You’ll need to invest in a rice cooker if you haven’t already.  She may want to eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner just like she does back home.  Larger cities will have at least one Filipino (or Asian) store so she can get some ingredients.  Fortunately, some dishes (like adobo) don’t require anything except what can be found at most grocery stores (vinegar, soy sauce, etc).

Filipino Community

Your wife will also find it helpful if she can meet some other Filipina friends in your community.  One way to go about this is search “Filipino American (name of your city/town/state)” and see what you can find.  There are Fil-Am associations all over the place.  You’ll eventually discover that people from the Philippines tend to find each other and gather together for social events like birthday parties.

Hope this helps!

See Also: Filipina Dating and Money Matters