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Bring my spouse along on recruitment?


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I've received two acceptances thus far, and have been invited to come and visit...expenses paid.  My spouse would very much like to come along to check out the location he may possibly be spending the next 5+ years.  Fair enough.  With regards to leverage, impression and making the most of the opportunity, however, is this a 'leave the spouse at home' kind of situation?  

Edited by Jacques22
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My approach, tentatively, would be to bring spouse along but just not to formal recruiting functions in which you and the program would be doing things together. But at least this way, both of you would get a feel for potential future home (or temporary home), have nights together, etc., in a way that shouldn't at all cut into your interaction w/ the department. In this regard, it's not so different from bringing a spouse on business trip. I once accompanied my wife to Florida while she went to conference-y and professional things while I went to the beach.  We met up at eating and sleeping times. I was welcome at party-ish functions without encroaching on my spouse's professionalism - perceived or actual. Seems pretty reasonable to me. And more fun for both of you, I would imagine. Then again these are my thoughts without any basis in advice from those who know, like advisors/professors/people-who-have-decision-making-powers/etc. If someone vehemently disagrees (somehow I have little doubt of this), I'd love to hear it - along with why, of course - because otherwise I'm likely to do the same thing at some point. 

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My approach, tentatively, would be to bring spouse along but just not to formal recruiting functions in which you and the program would be doing things together. But at least this way, both of you would get a feel for potential future home (or temporary home), have nights together, etc., in a way that shouldn't at all cut into your interaction w/ the department. In this regard, it's not so different from bringing a spouse on business trip. I once accompanied my wife to Florida while she went to conference-y and professional things while I went to the beach.  We met up at eating and sleeping times. I was welcome at party-ish functions without encroaching on my spouse's professionalism - perceived or actual. Seems pretty reasonable to me. And more fun for both of you, I would imagine. Then again these are my thoughts without any basis in advice from those who know, like advisors/professors/people-who-have-decision-making-powers/etc. If someone vehemently disagrees (somehow I have little doubt of this), I'd love to hear it - along with why, of course - because otherwise I'm likely to do the same thing at some point. 

I agree with this, but I would assume it would only be appropriate for the department to cover your expenses and not your spouse's.

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I was really glad I brought my spouse with me on my campus visits.  The way a department handles this situation can help you figure out whether they're going to be a spouse-friendly department in general.  

 

Like Strong White Flat said, we just did the after-hours type stuff together, while I went alone to the official functions.  We did pay for the extra plane ticket (I think that's the norm and entirely appropriate), but we also worked with the department so we could get on the same flight.  

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I'm not in your field but I also brought my spouse with me on some visits. I asked the school about it ahead of time and they were very accommodating--inviting her to join the grad students in all of the social events and meals (even paying for her meals when she was with me and the other grad students). While I was having meetings with profs/students, they also set up a desk for her in the department for her to check email / get rest in between her exploring the campus/city.

 

They were also accommodating in their arrangements for us. We were able to drive so there were no issues with paying her expenses (they reimbursed me a government rate for gas/usage of personal vehicle). Originally, I was supposed to stay with a graduate student but I said we would prefer to arrange our own lodging and let them know that we were able to get a greatly discounted hotel rate through my spouse's employee benefits. They gave us an amount and all of the expenses (mileage, food, lodging) was under the amount so we went ahead with that plan. 

 

I would recommend asking the department ahead of time and not expecting anything for your spouse to be covered. Depending on the structure of how these visits are funded, it might be impossible (for internal audit reasons) for them to pay for some expenses if your spouse is with you. But for some schools, they have a lot more flexibility in accounting to pay for whatever they want. Giving the department advance notice will probably result in the best outcome for both parties though!

 

(Edit: Also, I agree that this is just like bringing a partner along on a business/conference trips. Many conferences even organize side programs for the companions of conference attendees to do during meeting times!)

Edited by TakeruK
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Parseltongue? I guessssssss - I mean if you need him/her to translate your parseltongue. But if you can't translate your own parseltongue I dunno how you'll complete a degree in Contemporary Muggle Literature.

I seriously choked on my coffee when I read your post.  I had written this looooong question... and then accidentally deleted it (argh).  I've since reposted a much briefer version (more than an "s")

 

To everyone else...thank you for your input.  It does sound reasonable to bring him along and send him off to scope out the town whilst I network etc. I most definitely DO NOT expect the department to dish out funds for him (though he feels differently...I will have to work on that!!).   I wanted to be sure that this assumption wasn't completely crazy.  I will be discussing it, among other things, with a few professors later this afternoon to hear their take on it too.   

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I'm not part of what I would call the "Harry Potter Crowd"... but if you look at what BowTiesAreCool was responding to.. there was a brief period where all I had posted was 'S.'  (I definitely had to look that one up too...)

Edited by Jacques22
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Spouses and SOs are fine; just don't bring children to seminars or department tours or social functions. It may be un-PC to say this, but there's nothing worse than a screaming kid at a place designated for grown-ups.

 

Don't bring your parents, either.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing a parent along, especially because your choice to attend a given school is potentially life-altering. But I agree--don't bring them to functions. That does feel like a breach of decorum. I say this as someone who brought parents along to visit schools but forbade them from events and meetings. Hey, it's a twenty hour drive round trip--I'm bringin' whomever is ready and willing to help drive the car. :)

Edited by driftlake
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Spouses and SOs are fine; just don't bring children to seminars or department tours or social functions. It may be un-PC to say this, but there's nothing worse than a screaming kid at a place designated for grown-ups.

 

Don't bring your parents, either.

Oh goodness no.  Even beyond concerns regarding the inappropriateness of bringing children (and parents?!?)...I'm looking forward to these visits as a sort of vacation from such family obligations!!  Haha...

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I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing a parent along, especially because your choice to attend a given school is potentially life-altering. But I agree--don't bring them to functions. That does feel like a breach of decorum. I say this as someone who brought parents along to visit schools but forbade them from events and meetings. Hey, it's a twenty hour drive round trip--I'm bringin' whomever is ready and willing to help drive the car. :)

 

I would say that it really only makes sense to bring whoever is actually going to be living with you at the new grad school location. So, usually, parents are not involved in this and fair or not, it would reflect poorly on the student. Grad students are expected to be independent researchers and I think bringing a parent along makes you look like you are still dependent. I think a good exception would be a case where due to personal/health/family issues, your parents are moving to be closer to you as well.

 

If it's a 20 hour round trip, could you not just fly there? Or is the school not paying for the trip? If there is no reimbursement, then I guess it also makes sense to bring whoever is willing to share the drive (and costs!) :)

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