Books and other resources

Adjusting to a new culture

"Think of the UK as a whole world on one island"



You can read about the experiences of Oxford University staff from around the world in this article produced for World Cultural Diversity Day, and the reflections of a Spanish student in Oxford on living in two different cultures, or in his words, "between here and there".

Other ways to find out about living and working here are to speak to friends and colleagues who have already worked in the city and have them tell you their stories about Oxford, or visit websites such as DailyInfo. You can browse ex-pat websites for information and guidance on common issues experienced during relocation.

For specific resources on adjusting to a new culture, you might like to look at:

You might find it interesting to use Geert Hofstede's cultural comparison tool to compare the UK with your home country or with other countries where you have lived and worked. For a more humorous look at contrasting cultures, try David Lodge's novel Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses about a transatlantic academic exchange.

Oxford and British culture

You can make your transition to Oxford smoother by reading about local culture and traditions. The following books all provide insights into life in the UK:

  • The Silent Traveller in Oxford, Chiang Yee 
  • Zuleika Dobson or, An Oxford Love Story, by Max Beerbohm
  • Watching the English, by Kate Fox  
  • Notes From a Small Island and The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson
  • The English: A Field Guide, by Matt Rudd 
  • Welcome to Everytown, A Journey into the English Mind, by Julian Baggini

You may like to read Curiouser and Curiouser, a blog about exploring Oxford and Englishness.

If you would like to find out more about the University and how it has developed over the centuries, you can attend the History of the University talk run by the Oxford Learning Institute (register your interest and you will be notified when the next talk will take place).

For an insight into some of the more unusual local ceremonies and customs, you can read this article.

Resources in other languages

  • A brief introduction to the University of Oxford in Chinese
  • Information about the Newcomers' Club in French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean and Chinese