A beautiful picture of Yemen's mountain terrain and city view.
A beautiful picture of Yemen’s mountain terrain and city view.

Yemen is a beautifully diverse country, which houses many very different environments. Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about Yemen. Yemen used to be divided into North and South Yemen. South Yemen was a communist state, but North Yemen was a republic; however, Yemen was unified in 1990.

The northern part of Yemen houses mostly desert terrain, while bountiful valleys come alive on the coastal areas. Hosting a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student from Yemen is an enriching experience, because you receive the opportunity to learn more about Yemen and its history.

Seventy-five percent of the people in Yemen are involved in agriculture. Some of the major products are tobacco leaf, barley, sesame, soybean, cotton, grain, coffee, and corn. The country’s corn industry makes Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) students from Yemen great matches for host families in Iowa because Iowa’s primary cash crop is corn.

A gorgeous photograph of Yemen's agricultural system.
A gorgeous photograph of Yemen’s agricultural system.

Like Saudi Arabia, Yemen also has a thriving fishing industry, which is due to Yemen’s proximity to so many coasts such as the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The fishing industry is Yemen’s third most important resource for revenue. Currently, the industry employs more than 400,000 citizens.

Yemen also has an abundant mining industry. Miners cultivate natural resources such as gold, silver, copper, chrome, iron, coal, gypsum, and aluminum. However, more impressive than Yemen’s industries is one of the country’s plans for the future.

Yemen plans to build a bridge that connects Yemen to Djibouti, Africa. If completed, this bridge would be the largest suspension bridge in the world and the only bridge across the Red Sea. This bridge proposal is estimated to cost Yemen anywhere from $10 billion to $20 billion.

This article acts as a mere snapshot of all the remarkable innovations in Yemen. There is so much more left to learn about the Yemen. However, the best way to truly experience the Yemen way of life is to host a YES student from Yemen.

From now until July 15, IRIS needs to confirm host families for the 2013-2014 YES academic year. If you have any questions about the hosting experience, please contact us at IRIS.

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