Most of us associate Oxford with beautiful buildings coming out of a Harry Potter book, a privileged environment and, of course, its university. Oxford, however, has a lot more to offer than old-fashioned professors: international talent, cutting-edge research and start-up companies have found their place in the city of dreaming spires. By Dr Anna Caballé
Oxford is located in the South East region of England, at about 57 miles (92 km) from London and is one of the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse cities in the United Kingdom. The University of Oxford, the oldest in the English-speaking world and one of the top 5 in the world, has a pivotal role in the city. The university is organised in 38 smaller academic communities, known as colleges, that are financially independent and self-governing, but relate to the central University in a kind of federal system. Colleges bring together students and researchers from different disciplines, cultures and countries, and nurture the outstanding research environment that has made Oxford a leader in many fields: 52 Nobel prize winners studied or worked at the University Oxford before receiving the prestigious award. In the past decades, the university has also boosted its international profile, with students and staff members from over 150 countries, and research in all regions of the globe that tackles issues of global significance (i.e. leading tropical medical research facilities).
But there is more to Oxford. Its diverse economy includes: publishing (Oxford University Press), research and tourism, as well as motor manufacturing –Morris Motors was established in the city in 1910 and is the principal production site for Mini cars (now owned by BMW). There are several information technology and science-based businesses and companies, often with links to the university; and the city increasingly has a reputation for being a centre of digital innovation, with several start-ups based now in Oxford. For instance, Open Cosmos is a start-up company that offers affordable space missions, and which was founded by an engineer from Mallorca (with three Catalans in the team).
The University of Oxford is the oldest in the English-speaking world and one of the top 5 in the world
Oxford is also a centre for the education industry, with access to highly-qualified teaching staff, good teaching facilities and the reputation of Oxford as a selling point. Especially during the summer months, Oxford welcomes a large number of international students, who benefit from either one of the many language schools offering English courses, college accommodation for teenagers and young adults or summer camps for children of all ages. Learning English while living in Oxford is a worthwhile experience.
With an estimated population of around 170.500 inhabitants (approximately double of Sant Cugat’s) Oxford is a pleasant and highly sought-after city to live in: beautiful streets within its historical centre, quiet and safe neighbourhoods, parks and green areas around, a good cultural offer, and plenty of restaurants and shops. It has easy access to London and many people working in the big city reside in Oxford; the quality of life one enjoys in Oxford is comparable to that of cities like Sant Cugat -just with more bikes! The city welcomes visitors and tourists, and equally accommodates university professors, young families with children or students living in Oxford all year round. The marriage between British tradition and modern international talent works.
Anna Caballé (@caballe_anna) és una científica doctorada en biologia molecular i cel·lular que treballa com a investigadora biomèdica per a la Universitat d’Oxford (Anglaterra).