Dependent Handbook


The purpose of this page is to provide detailed resources for students who bring their family with them to Texas A&M. We understand that you and your family are going through a major change and we have compiled this resource to make your transition smoother. 

The resources within this page include tips for adjusting to life in the U.S., places to find community and get involved, how to make the most of your time, find quality childcare and navigate the logistical challenges of the U.S. education system. 

This resource is needs help from the community. Please let ISS know if there is a resource which should be included on this page by emailing iss@tamu.edu with the subject line Dependent Handbook: Resource Suggestion. 

Adjusting to Life in the U.S. 

A strong childcare program can introduce significant positive outcomes in your child’s life. It is helpful to come prepared with knowledge of what makes a quality program when selecting a childcare provider for your child. While researching and visiting different childcare programs, take note of how healthy, safe, and engaging the environment is, the programming and structure provided each day, the caregivers interaction with children and parents, and the provider’s qualifications and certifications.

One good resource in helping you understand childcare in the state of Texas https://www.childcareaware.org/state/texas/  This organization also has an extensive checklist detailing the variables to be minful of when selecting a childcare provider.  You can find this check-list at https://www.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Center-Checklist_FINAL.pdf

Texas State education law requires that all children ages 5 years through 18 be enrolled in school. Parents can choose to enroll their children in public schools or private schools. Public schools are free to attend, and most children in Bryan/College Station go to public schools. 
Volunteering is an excellent opportunity for dependents looking for a way to pass time and make meaningful relationships in their new home. The Aggie Community and broader Bryan- College Station area have a great number of volunteer opportunities, ranging from visiting with the sick to helping build homes. Dependents with degrees, work experience, and unique skillsets will find a wide range of positions where they can be an asset. Volunteering is also an excellent way to get connected with other spouses and families in the area, both local and international.

Volunteering opportunities can be found through searches on Texas A&M’s website for service https://aggieserve.tamu.edu/or by searches on Volunteermatch.org after searching “College Station, TX” or “Bryan, TX”. Both sites utilize filter searches to help you find causes you are familiar with or interested in.

However, if you decide to volunteer, it is important to comply with the Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations for F2 and J2 dependents. You may not receive any form of taxable outcome for your volunteer activities and may not work in a position for which an employer would otherwise officially hire someone. To put it more simply: you cannot be paid for volunteering and you cannot volunteer in a position for which you normally would be paid. If you are unsure if your volunteering meets federal regulations, please contact ISS.
Dependents’ ability to work at any position within the U.S., either part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, depends on their immigration status.
Many dependents hope to improve their English language skills while staying in the US.  Several local organizations offer (often free) classes and conversation practice groups for individuals desiring to improve their English. On top of their value as a resource for honing English skills, these classes are a convenient place to build friendships with international and local families.
Dependents may also decide to take some classes at the university along with their spouse. Before doing so, it is important to be aware of the immigration restrictions based on their status.
Dependents interested in learning a new skill, developing a hobby, or pursuing personal growth may take recreational classes at the university or other local establishments.
The following resources are available in the Bryan / College Station community and are not directly affiliated with Texas A&M University. As such, they are available to students and non-students. We encourage individuals to be aware of the resources available to them and seek the resources that they need. 


More information about health insurance can be found at https://iss.tamu.edu/Health-Insurance