International students’ experiences with changing policy

A qualitative study from middle Tennessee


  • Phattra Marbang University of Georgia, USA
  • Ashleigh E. McKinzie Middle Tennessee State University, USA.
  • Jackie Eller Middle Tennessee State University, USA
  • Ida F Leggett Middle Tennessee State University, USA



student visa, political rhetoric, immigration policy, culture of fear, moral panic


This qualitative study utilizes seventeen international students’ experiences in the U.S. Specifically, we examine the aspects of immigration regulations and policies regarding international students and the students’ reactions to those policies—from becoming a legal alien, to maintaining lawful status, to job planning after graduation. This research suggests the current United States administration has created a moral panic over immigration, or the threat of immigration. As a result, these political rhetoric impact a negative feeling to F-1 international students as well as decision making after graduation.


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Author Biographies

Phattra Marbang, University of Georgia, USA

PHATTRA MARBANG, is a graduate student at University of Georgia. Her major research interests lie in the area of immigrant visa policy, social policy, education, and race and ethnicity. Email:

Ashleigh E. McKinzie, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

ASHLEIGH E. McKINZIE, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University.  Her main research interests are long-term recovery from disaster, intersecting inequalities, and gendered violence. Email: 

Jackie Eller, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

JACKIE ELLER, PhD, is a Professor of Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University. Her specializations are social deviance, gender, drugs in society, and sociology of emotions. Email: 

Ida F Leggett, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

IDA F. LEGGETT, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University. Her main research interests are immigrant youth, girl cultures, and youth and globalization. Email:


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How to Cite

Marbang, P., McKinzie, A. E., Eller, J., & Leggett, I. F. (2021). International students’ experiences with changing policy: A qualitative study from middle Tennessee. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 9(2), 301–329.