Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Benedict DeDominicis

Abstract

An F-1 academic visa is required for foreign students studying at academic institutions in the United States. While requirements for acquiring the F-1 visa are a matter of federal policy, some of the principles regulating orientations, host families, and home-stays do not align with best practices found at the university level, which include quality student orientations and thorough trainings with a vetting process for host families and home-stays. This lack of regulation may place visiting students at risk in terms of personal safety and wellbeing and have negative impacts for program credibility and lost revenue. Using Stone's regime theory as the foundation, the purpose of this multiple case study of orientations and home-stay experiences of F-1 visa students under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, was to explore from the perspective of program participants, ways to increase safety and quality assurance of these programs. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with six former student participants. These data were inductively coded and subjected to a thematic analysis procedure. A key theme of this study is that participants perceived that additional training to host families including vetting and monitoring processes and student orientations in acculturation and communication would enhance the experiences of F-1 visa holders. The implications for positive social change include recommendations to schools and study abroad organizations to implement policy changes regarding the requirements for students and host families, sponsors, and home-stay monitoring and orientation components for students and host families to promote more effective and safer home-stays for F-1 high school students.