New to the UK

The British are sometimes known for their famous reserve, sense of fair play, or passion for sport. Ask someone what comes to mind and they may tell you that they eat fish and chips, go to the local pub, or stand in orderly queues (wait in line). Of course the reality is that Oxford is a very cosmopolitan city, and you can observe or join in with the local traditions as much or as little as you wish. You can learn more about life in the UK, and Oxford in particular, through these  books and other resources.

Adjusting to a new culture

Those experiencing relocation often go through four phases of re-adjustment. Knowing that these may occur can help to understand what you or your family may be experiencing:

  • Elation or the ‘honeymoon’ period - when everything seems new and exciting
  • Re-adjustment - when people compare the new country with the one they have just left, often only remembering the good things about the latter
  • Transformation - usually occurs after nine months to a year and involves an appreciation of the new location whilst remaining slightly critical
  • Integration - involves acceptance of the benefits of living in the new country and an appreciation of one's own cultural roots, so a balance is restored

Difficulties can occur when people remain in the second or third phase, thus finding it difficult to settle. If you or a family member is finding it difficult to adjust to life in Britain, you may want to consider different sources of support.

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise, ...
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

King Richard II by William Shakespeare

Geographical note

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK for short), is the official name to describe the political union of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and the official nationality is 'British'. 'English' and 'British' are often used interchangeably, but some people may prefer to identify as English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish. Andy Murray, the Wimbledon tennis champion in 2012 and 2016, was allegedly described by the media as 'British' when he won, but 'Scottish' when he lost (this theory has now been disproved). 


Resources in other languages

  • A brief introduction to the University of Oxford in Chinese

Cross cultural communication