Last year, one of Missoula County Public Schools' Arabic language and culture instructors had to leave his post for a family emergency.
Wael Salah Elkhateeb never returned, as his home country of Egypt became suddenly embroiled in an uprising that has since changed the face of the government there.
This year, MCPS is gifted with another Egyptian teacher, a man who proudly helped promote the revolution and is glad to see former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gone.
Mohamed Abdelsamad, 38, has a lot to teach high schoolers about his language and his culture - most particularly, the manifestation of the Arab Spring back home.
"As an Egyptian, I was happy to participate in the uprising," said Abdelsamad, who accepted a one-year assignment in MCPS, funded by a U.S. State Department language program.
While in Egypt, Abdelsamad blogged about the revolution and took to the streets to help take down what he calls the "corrupt, old, stupid people" Mubarak put in power.
In Missoula, he's happy to participate in the education of high school students at Hellgate, Willard and other schools.
Here, he'll teach the Arabic language as well as Arabic culture and customs of the Middle East and North Africa.
"I thought it was a good thing to get in contact with American education," said Abdelsamad, who applied for the assignment in the Teachers of Critical Languages Program and arrived in the U.S. on July 24. "This will be an opportunity for me to enhance my language proficiency."
Fadi Ehlin, a Jordan native who is the other full-time Arabic language and culture instructor, said it's important to have more than one native speaker of Arabic as MCPS continues to try to expand its Arabic studies program.
"We need a lot of teachers to enrich the program," he said. "You need a team to work with. And having someone from an Arabic-speaking country is very important."
Abdelsamad is here to teach Arabic as much as he is to learn how Americans are educated. His goal is to bring that knowledge back home to help better teach his own students in Samanoud, Egypt, where he has taught English to middle-school students for 16 years.
When he got to the U.S., Abdelsamad had no idea where he'd be teaching for the next year. Then he got his appointment to Missoula.
"All the people, they said, 'You are lucky,' " he said. "And after I got here? I think they were right."
Since his arrival last summer, Abdelsamad has been immersed in the culture of Montana.
He's been rafting, attended a rodeo and visited Glacier National Park.
And he's had the chance to meet a lot of Missoulians who, as it turns out, have made him feel welcome.
"I feel like I am not so homesick," he said. "Because people here are very friendly, simple and intelligent."