Local student stuck abroad makes it home

Liberty Siegle's trip to Bologna, Italy, started last August.

Posted: Jun 4, 2020 10:27 AM
Updated: Jun 4, 2020 12:37 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- After 65 hours traveling across the globe, Liberty Siegle finally made it home to Springfield, capping off a study abroad trip that was anything but what she anticipated.

"I had several flights booked that got canceled and rescheduled," Liberty said. "I'll never have a travel experience like that again."

Nor will she have the same kind of study abroad trip in Italy again, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I felt like I didn't really live there for nine months," she said.

She spent more than two months of that in lockdown.

"It was nerve-wracking. But, we video chatted regularly," said her mother, Lisa Siegle.

Liberty's mother was supposed to visit her toward the end of the trip. But that couldn't happen.

"There were moments that were a little heartbreaking," said Lisa. "She was really alone."

But, she was healthy and safe, and able to receive her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in "global risk." To get back to the states, Liberty had to land in San Francisco, which meant her mom made the drive -- more than eight hours south from Springfield -- to pick her up.

"The first thing I did, I said, 'I'm not going to social distance. You're my baby.' And she just ran into my arms. And that was great," said Lisa.

"It really was time to come home for me," Liberty said.

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