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A TC Family Deals with Asian Economic Crisis

The recent downturn in the Asian economy has presented a new challenge for TC doctoral students Mutiara Mohamed and her husband, Azly Abdul Rahman. They are both lecturers at Utara University in Kedah, Malaysia. They are here for three years on a full university scholarship.

While the family won't be forced to leave the United States, the exchange value of their funding has decreased. Azly is working part-time to supplement the scholarship while they await a royalty check for elementary and secondary school ESL textbooks they have written. "The university is only allowing doctoral students who are attending Ivy League schools to study abroad, and we fit that category," Mutiara said. "As long as we maintain our grades, we can stay here and study."

When they received funding to come to the United States to pursue their doctoral studies, they had to choose a graduate school that would meet their educational needs as well as the needs of their five children.

"One of my colleagues told us we were mad to bring five kids to New York City because it was such a dangerous place," Azly said. After researching their options and changing their minds repeatedly about which to choose, they decided that the cultural opportunities in New York City were beyond compare.

The family is living in New Jersey because College housing wasn't spacious enough for seven people. "As parents, we alternate class schedules until we can establish contacts for baby-sitting," Mutiara said. "This is the best opportunity for us to be with them, because time is limited when we are working," Azly added. "The whole family is part of the learning experience. I don't regret it at all."

At Utara University, Mutiara is a Deputy Dean teaching English, and Azly is Director of the Center of Innovations in Education teaching creativity, problem-solving and ethics.

At TC, Mutiara is pursuing an Ed.D. in International Educational Development and Azly is working on an Ed.D. in Philosophy in Education in International Comparative Education. "When we return," Mutiara said, "we will continue our lecturing positions and apply to become professors."

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