Publication Date

Spring 5-9-2024

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The purpose of my research was to engage and build community with international students and to find ways to support them emotionally and socially leading to better mental health outcomes. My research question was: how can I support international college students to alleviate common mental health issues many continue to experience as a result of their international status? This occurs particularly when they must deal with tuition and visa status anxiety. I did three cycles in the research process using online surveys, interviews, and a large debriefing group meeting. Findings indicated that visa status anxiety is one of the most important factors that influence international students’ post-graduation life decisions, lack of financial aid and visa support from USD. Recommendations include offering workshops related to international students’ visa options and post-graduation support, creating more community events to increase students’ sense of belonging, and peer support to relieve loneliness.