Dual nationality (British and German) Club member Julia Lang, who was born and grew up in the South-West of England, had a surprising reason for joining the BIWC in 1997. She wanted to practise her English!
Having lived in Berlin for twenty years, and operating day-to-day in business German, French and her mother tongue, she felt the need to pick up again on her native language and enjoy using it with others in a social context. At that time, the Club had a golf group and she was delighted to find an opportunity to learn how to play at the prestigious Wannsee Golf Club.
Her first experience of West Berlin life was in 1974 when, as part of her European Studies degree at the University of East Anglia, she spent a year in the city. She admits that it was not the happiest time of her life!
It was a lonely experience being in such a big city and I felt very homesick and missed my boyfriend. If only there had been a Club like the BIWC way back then! This is why I think the Club plays such an important role for women who come to Berlin not knowing anyone. They can make friendships which are often for life.
Although she had vowed ‘never again’, after finishing her degree course and a subsequent post-graduate course in hospitality management @ the now Manchester University, she returned to Berlin in 1977 and worked with the US forces as a translator and interpreter. In 1986, she met her husband-to-be Wolfgang (a genuine Berliner) through work. She went on to a career in the city as a corporate PA as well as working for many years as a self-employed software trainer.
In retirement, Julia, enjoys all kinds of needlecraft (clothes-making, sewing home accessories, quilting and knitting), reading, cooking and swimming. She is an active volunteer in the Club and over the years has taken on an impressive number of roles including Vice-President (2001), Treasurer (2002-2003 & 2014-2016), Vice Treasurer (2011-2012) and Newsletter Editor (July-December 1998), as well as coordinating the activity groups German Speakers, International Cuisine, Cook in & Dine Out and Business Lunch. She also initiated the annual Volunteers’ Event and organised several member participations in the annual Avon 10km running events. In 2020, she received the Excellence in Service Award in recognition of her work for the Club.
The Club gives you the opportunity to make new friends, get to know Berlin and learn new capabilities. I have certainly expanded my skills base as other members are always happy to share their expertise. It’s a win-win situation. You give and you get back.
Julia’s current role as a member of the Club’s web team includes updating the website regularly. She encourages members to contribute and write about their Club activities and their positive, personal experiences for her to post on the website.
I hope potential members looking at the site get a really good impression of who we are and the many opportunities and events the Club has to offer.
She is an administrator of the public and private FB pages and she proofreads the Club’s monthly Newsletter.
Thanks to Liz, member of the web team, for talking to Julia.