Frequently Asked Questions

When and where do you meet?

The evening meetings are held, throughout the year, on the middle Sunday of each month at the URC Salem Hall, Main Street, Burley in Wharfedale, LS29 7BU. We gather from 7.30 for an 8pm start and the meetings last about 90 minutes. Very occasionally we use other venues.

Events for foreign-language assistant teachers take place approximately monthly from October to May, generally during the day at the weekend and at various venues.

See the Programme page for exact dates and venue details for all our meetings and events.

What do you do at the meetings?

We usually have talks by outside experts or club members. There are also film or music evenings, quizzes, visits, walks and social events.

Our student events aim to showcase aspects of life in the UK, including the landscape, history, food and traditions.

How much German will I hear / speak?

We try to ensure our monthly meetings have a fair amount of German content and ask speakers to give occasional summaries in English and use visual aids if possible. There is opportunity to converse in German before and after the meetings.

Our student events are in English, because the German-, French- and Spanish-speaking students are here to learn English!

Is everyone German? How well do I need to speak German?

Our members' command of German ranges from fluent to none at all. Some are native speakers. Others have lived in a German-speaking country or have studied the language in depth. Others can speak a little German and some speak none at all. However, all have an interest in the German speaking world. Most of our evening meetings are held in German, with English summaries to ensure that no one feels left out.

Can I be or bring a visitor?

Yes, visitors are always welcome to attend our monthly meetings for a fee of £3 per meeting (full-time students free). If visitors become WGC members at the meeting, they get their visitor fee back.

How much is the yearly subscription? How do I join?

The subscription is due in May each year and is currently £15 for individual membership.

Full-time students are free at our monthly evening meetings. However, we do charge at some student events when catering or travel costs are involved.

If you prefer, you can attend one or more of our meetings as a visitor before deciding whether or not to join.

You can download a membership application form at our Membership page.

How many members do you have? What is the age range? Geographical area?

We have over 50 paid-up members, who range in age between 30 and 90+. Most of our members come from Ilkley, Otley, Burley, Menston and Guiseley; others come from further afield e.g. Leeds, Bradford and Skipton.

Each year we work with about 40 foreign-language assistants teachers, who are in their 20s.

How long has the club been running?

We were founded in 1988 as the Ilkley Anglo-German Friendship Society but changed our name in 1998 to Wharfedale German Circle to better reflect our catchment area.

How often do you run trips to Germany?

Every few years. The most recent was a trip to Munich in 2018. There were earlier trips to Dortmund, Minden, Dresden, Berlin, Weimar and Aachen. A trip to Mainz is being organised for May 2024.

Do you have links with other clubs and societies?

We liaise with other Yorkshire German clubs including Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster and members can attend their meetings and vice versa for the appropriate entrance fee.

Can I learn German through the club?

You can certainly practise your German at our monthly meetings, listening to the language and talking to members.

Some of our members regularly attend a German language café "Sprachcafe", on the first Monday morning of the month at The Lawnswood Arms on the outskirts of Leeds.

For anyone wishing to study German more formally, our membership includes a number of language teachers who might be able to oblige. Our chairman also teaches series of 8 German sessions throughout the year.

Why do people join the WGC?

Our members have an interest in German and/or the countries where it is spoken because:

  • they are from a German-speaking country, or have lived there for a while or have relatives there.
  • they want to practise speaking German, a language they are learning or have studied in the past.
  • they enjoy working with native speakers such as language students staying in the area.
  • they like to keep informed about Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
  • they want to meet like-minded people.

What is the link with Leeds University?

The WGC maintains close links with the Committee for Foreign-Language Assistants in Yorkshire (FLAC) at Leeds University. Some WGC members are also FLAC members. This close liaison ensures that the WGC and FLAC each provides a varied programme of activities for the assistant teachers.