Alumni Spotlight: Chase Wheaton Werle


Chase is a Theatre major from the University of Tulsa. He is 22 years old and will be performing on the east coast in the summer of 2014 with the Peterborough Players.

Describe a goal you set and how you went about accomplishing it.

Chase: Before I had finally made the decision to go abroad to London, a friend of mine told me that David Tennant (my all time favorite actor) would be performing with the Royal Shakespeare company during the time that I would be abroad. When she told me that, I made a promise to myself that I would see him.

After I arrived, I scoured the internet for any remaining tickets. I booked a coach and a guest house for the weekend and traveled on my own all the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see my idol perform. It wasn't until much later that I found out he would be coming to perform in London, and I could get day seats for ten pounds, but somehow that weekend journey I went on to fulfill my personal promise was much more satisfying.

What is one piece of advice you'd give future IES Abroad students?

Chase: Plan something fun for every weekend. If you need time to focus on homework, that's fine, but be sure to put aside time at the end of each week to do something in your city you could never do at home, whether it's going to a museum or an out of town trip or an excursion to a part of town you've never been to.

Just step off a bus or subway, get yourself lost and find your way home. And then write down everything you do. Every day. Keep an extensive travel journal religiously, because you won't be able to remember all the amazing things you did.

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad:

Chase: One of the coolest things about London was that you could find restaurants of any kind of nationality around the world. I went to an Ethiopian restaurant with a friend of mine where I got to try injera.

It's a porous, spongy-like pancake-like flatbread on which they serve the meat. There are no utensils. What you do is you tear off a piece of the injera and you use that to pick up the meat and eat it. Your plate also served as your fork! It was the coolest thing I had ever eaten.

And the best part was that after you finished the meat, the savory juices usually soaked into whatever was left of the injera. Absolutely delicious. (Also, London fish and chips is amazing, but that goes without saying.)

Do you think your program changed you as a person?

Chase: Before going abroad, I had never traveled alone before, lived in a big city by myself, or fended for myself. I had never been the kind of person to do things spontaneously, and I was never very self reliant.

My parents jokingly told me afterwards the different ways they imagined me getting lost. It was a sink-or-swim situation, but I swam. I kept a budget, I navigated an unfamiliar city, and got myself out of more than one sticky situation all on my own. And I developed a sense of adventure I never had before.

I enjoyed doing things without planning them, jumping on whatever opportunities happened to come my way. If you had asked me before I left if I thought I could survive in a big city on my own, I wouldn't know what to say. But if you asked me now, I'd say, "Can I? I already did!"

If you could do-over one thing, what would it be?

Chase: I never saw a production at the Globe. I didn't really do much research in the Globe's season, and I was hoping to show up for a ticket to MacBeth one Sunday, and little did I know that it was the last day of their season and they were sold out.

I had heard so much about how amazing, life-changing, the shows were at the Globe from my other friends who studied abroad in London. Plus, the Globe is such an iconic sight, that I really wanted to go. But I just didn't do my homework and I was turned away at the door. In the rain. That's been one of my biggest regrets. If I could go back and do it again, I'd make sure that I could see a show at the Globe.