Maxime Guinel wanted to do something different. So he left his home in Brittany, went to college in Manchester, England, then came to Washington State University in 2002 to pursue his doctorate. A week after he arrived in Pullman, he met Sophia Sushailo from Ivano-Frankivsk, in western Ukraine. They fell in love.

Maxime is a doctoral candidate in materials science and is a member of Grant Norton’s materials science research group. Sophia has just finished her bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. She plans to work for a year while Maxime finishes his degree. She has already been accepted into two graduate programs in pharmacology.

Sophia first came to the U.S. as an exchange student at La Center High School, attended Clark College in Vancouver, then transferred to WSU.

As neither speaks the other’s language, Maxime and Sophia communicate strictly in English. Given that French is at least somewhat easier to learn than Ukrainian, I asked Sophia whether she would learn French. I know how to say “je ne comprend pas,” she replied, smiling.

Maxime and Sophia were married in La Center in June, with a reception at the home of Bob and Tamara Lemon, Sophia’s hosts when she was an exchange student. Maxime’s parents, Jean and Dominique Guinel, flew from France to attend the wedding. Sophia’s parents were unable to come, but the newlyweds plan to visit each other’s families once Maxime finishes his graduate studies.

Finally, says Sophia, Maxime makes very good crepes.