Exchange student reflects on return home amid pandemic

OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. — It’s been a couple of days since Annika Borer, 16, boarded a flight from Louisville to Washington, D.C., connecting to Frankfurt, then onto Zurich.

Arriving home safely, she’s still trying to adjust after seven months with her Oldham County host family.

Annika’s exchange program suddenly decided she needed to go home even though she had three months left with the Heady family and even though the coronavirus rate is much worse in Switzerland than here.

Happy to be home, Annika said, “I mean I miss everyone from in Kentucky.”

RELATED: Oldham County family says goodbye as coronavirus suddenly sends exchange student home

The Heady family misses her as well and they’ll continue to talk via WhatsApp.

Via Skype, FOCUS spoke with her since she got back. One of the first questions, what’s it like to fly back to Europe during COVID-19?

“At the airport, there’s like a policeman, he said six feet apart,” Annika recalled. “He stopped people and then he said go and then stop and go, it was really weird.”

Weird times for sure.

In Switzerland, there’s a strict government order to shelter-in-place, and only leave home for groceries, medicine and other essentials.

“I think it’s pretty scary because the people are just not used to it.”

Annika is still holding onto hope that she’ll be able to fly back within months to experience a great American high school experience – prom.

“If they did it after summer break or during summer break, I might be able to come back and do that,” Annika said. “I hope so.”

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