International students visiting Canada for the first time got the perfect view of life in rural Alberta when they stopped at the Ponoka Community Fair.
Kasumi Omizo from Fukushima and Moemi Hashira from Tokyo are both Japanese Grade 8 students who arrived in Canada July 30 with their teacher to learn more about Canadian culture and the language.
The girls’ first Canadian experiences were the Calgary Zoo and horseback riding on a ranch — their first time ever seeing a horse. “Horseback riding, it was very fun,” said Hashira.
As soon as Omizo and Hashira got to the fair they visited the petting zoo, where they stared in wide-eyed wonder at so many animals they’d never seen before, including a baby llama named Rosie.
“Llama was best, it’s soft,” said Omizo, trying as hard as she could to explain her excitement in her limited English vocabulary.
The two girls were frightened by the ducks running around the pen but cuddling with baby rabbits for the first time and petting the prickly pot-bellied pig made them giggle with exhilaration.
Omizo and Hashira also got to experience their first agility dog show and ranch rodeo at the fair.
After they left Ponoka on Aug. 14, Omizo and Hashira travelled to Banff with the rest of their international study group.