Last year, Devin McClanahan continued his family’s tradition of traveling the world and being an active participant in cultural exchange.
Devin’s parents, Brad and Mary, have taken their family abroad, living in Great Britain where Brad, an English instructor at Ukiah High, took advantage of a Fulbright teacher exchange program in which the McClanahans switched homes and schools with a high school instructor from England. The family has also lived in Mexico and been host to several exchange students.
Last year, Devin made the decision to become an exchange student. He applied to the American Field Service Program, one of the country’s oldest and most respected student exchange programs, and was accepted as a student in Egypt, becoming the only American student in the country during the 2016-17 school year.
The McClanahans had prior experience with AFS as the placement agency for two of their exchange students, which made it easier to contemplate sending their son nearly 7,500 miles away from home.
“AFS gave me a list of 10 countries. Egypt was the one I wanted to learn the most about,” he explained.
The application process was fairly straightforward. Devin submitted several essays and letters of recommendation. Applicants must have a 2.8 grade point average or higher, and once he was accepted there were 20 families in Egypt willing to host an American student.
“The host family chooses you,” says Devin. “You can change families once you’re there if things don’t work out, but I didn’t have any problems with my family. They were great.”
Devin arrived in Egypt in September of 2016….
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