YES Programs



Wrestling Across Cultures

Three young women and a man on a podium

By: Tala Abukheit (YES 2022-2023, Jordan, placed by YFU in Glenwood, IA)

Currently, I am on the National Women’s Wrestling Team of Jordan. This is one of my greatest accomplishments, and I can say that the reason I have this opportunity is because of my YES exchange year.

Six teenage girls in front of a Iowa Girl banner

When I first arrived in the U.S., I thought that I would live like an American teen movie, although I’m not sure if those movies include wrestling! I was placed in a small town called Glenwood in Iowa, and was one of six girls on Glenwood’s first women’s wrestling team. The 2022-2023 academic year was also the first year that girls wrestling was a sanctioned sport in the state of Iowa!

Upon returning to Jordan, I was thrilled to share not just American culture, but also American wrestling culture. Right now, I am preparing to compete at the Asian Championships where I will represent Jordan this summer. It is hard to believe that only a year ago I was wrestling at a regional tournament, and now I am preparing to wrestle at my first international tournament. I am proud to represent Jordan’s wrestling community, but I will always be grateful to tell people that I was an American athlete.