September 23, 2002 - Kansas City Collegian: Barry and Aruna Michie met in Peace Corps in India

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Barry and Aruna Michie met in Peace Corps in India

Read and comment on this story from the Kansas City Collegian on Barry and Aruna Michie met while Barry was in the Peace Corps India. He is now the director of the study-abroad program, and Aruna is a professor in the political science department. Read the story at:

Personal, intellectual advantages abound in international friendships*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Personal, intellectual advantages abound in international friendships
Married couple shares benefits of cultural diversity

Published on Monday, September 23, 2002


Caption: Barry and Aruna Michie met while Barry was in India. He is the director of the study-abroad program, and Aruna is a professor in the political science department.
Karen Mikols/Collegian

Tina Deines
Kansas State Collegian

Imagine meeting someone from across the ocean, falling in love and getting married.

This isn't a Walt Disney movie. It's the story of Aruna Michie, associate professor of political science, and Barry Michie, assistant professor and director of the study-abroad program.

Aruna grew up in India and went to an American missionary school. She attended Smith College in Massachusetts on a full scholarship before returning to India and getting involved with the Peace Corps.

Barry was an American who had hopes of serving with the Peace Corps in Turkey, but as fate would have it, he found himself in India under the supervision of Aruna, his Peace Corps trainer.

The couple was married in Aruna's home two years later and returned to the United States together for graduate studies at Michigan State University.

The Michies said there are many advantages to having an international relationship, such as rearing their son in a diverse environment.

Joan Froelich, president of World Friendship, an organization for women from around the world, said learning about different cultures is the biggest advantage of having international relationships.

"In World Friendship, we have the ability to meet ladies of all countries and are able to learn their values and customs while they get to learn ours," Froelich said.

She said it is impossible to understand another country or group of people until you have met members of that society.

"Once you are able to sit on the same level and on a one-on-one basis -- we are not fighting, we're learning about each other," she said.

Prior to meeting, both of the Michies had studied abroad -- Aruna in the United States and Barry in Greece.

"We both had an international perspective to begin with," Barry said.

The couple said being in a different country helps people personally and intellectually.

"I don't know how you can live in a world where you don't experience other cultures," Aruna said. "I was really brought up in a multicultural atmosphere, and I think that it's one of the best things that has happened to me."

Barry agreed that it is important to experience different cultures.

"You get outside your own context and you get challenged," he said.

Monica Pirozi, vice president of the International Coordinating Council and international student from Brazil, said she agreed it is beneficial to learn about other cultures.

"For me, the most interesting thing about having friends from around the world is you learn about their way of life and learn to respect people," Pirozi said.

Contact the Office of International Programs at 532-5990 to learn more about international relationships.

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