Pet Expo Extravaganza: Exchange Student Reflections

By Nancy Stubbs, CCI Local Coordinator

This weekend, in keeping with CCI Greenheart’s effort to have all students volunteering, 6 of 7 Des Moines area students had an event with their local coordinator, Nancy Stubbs.  We did volunteer work at the Pet Expo in Des Moines, where we provided help to the Animal Rescue and Education Charity.  This Charity spayed and neutered 160 cats in a make-shift surgical center.  The students learned all about their work and how important it is to prevent the births of animals that will be neglected or will remain unadopted.  Everyone also helped by demonstrating leadership in talking to Pet Expo guests about their home countries while trying to inspire an interest in possibly hosting students in the future.  The Pet expo was a 2 day event and in the evening of the first day the cluster group enjoyed overnight activities.  We rented a hotel suite and the students swam, played games, ate junk food and got to know each other better.  It was a fun and stretching weekend that was enjoyed by all.

Ray, from Taiwan said “The animal surgery area was interesting.  We saw the vet tech put the cats under (anesthetic) and watched one kitten go to sleep after 2 minutes.  After the surgery the vet students checked the animal’s health.  We learned that there are too many animals that don’t have homes, so I was happy to help in this way.  It was also good to help people learn about CCI Greenheart’s high school exchange program.  We can help make opportunities for students next year”.

Lea, from France exclaimed “I really liked the animal rescue part because I could see behind the scenes. I also enjoyed talking about my country to people visiting Pet Expo.  The sleepover was especially fun, being with other exchange students, swimming, eating and playing games.  My host family was inspired to host me when last years students talked to them about CCI Greenheart.  Nancy said that is “paying it forward”. This experience was valuable because we were able to challenge ourselves by doing things that we would not do in our home country”.

Tram, from Vietnam (whose camera provided the picture) was quoted as saying “It was fun to talk to new people that we didn’t know, and tell them how good the CCI Greenheart exchange program is and provide them with information.  I tried to tell people about my country and about how happy I am to be here. I think I was able to tell them with my smile that Vietnam is a country with happy people. It was also fun to listen other student’s accents and hang out with them.  Helping with animal rescue is a good  to decrease number of neglected”.

Finally Chloe, from France added “I enjoyed petting all the animals…many kinds of dogs, cats and exotic birds.  There were interesting shows and exhibits and the other students were fun too”.