Due to its position in the heart of England, just 56 miles from London and under 70 miles from the coast, Oxford has long been a crossroads for merchants, workers and travellers. This has led, as it has for so many other cities with a high amount of through traffic, like Istanbul, Venice or New York, to great ethnic and cultural diversity.
In the last census, 28% of Oxford's 165,000 inhabitants were foreign-born, making Oxford the second most ethnically diverse city in the south-east, behind only London, and 5th in the rankings for the whole of the United Kingdom..
You may think that the majority of that 28% were foreign students studying at the world-famous university, and with links to over 150 countries worldwide, the university certainly attracts a large number of overseas students to its prestigious colleges. However, thousands of the people living in Oxford and the surrounding area are foreign nationals who have moved to the region for work. The three biggest employers in the region, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford University and BMW, together employ over 50,000 people, many of whom are foreigners.
Cultural diversity is something that not only leads to a more interesting place to live due to a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops, it also makes for a more understanding and tolerant society, where difference is prized for bringing something new and exciting rather than feared for its alien nature. This is obvious if you have a drink in any one of Oxford's many bustling pubs on a Friday night where you can overhear conversations in a plethora of foreign languages or in English but with a myriad of exotic and wonderful accents.
Cultural diversity, however, does not only have social implications but can also lead to advances in areas such as science, technology and medicine. By welcoming people from around the world to live and work together, local companies and institutions are bringing great minds from around the world to share their ideas and experience and are therefore guaranteeing that they will keep Oxford at the forefront of innovation for years to come.
So if you are thinking of making Oxford your home, rest assured that you will be in good company. You will be joining a truly international community that welcomes newcomers from around the world with open arms and an open mind.