Moving to Oxford from the US
Move to Oxford and you will find it has a very medieval vibe to it, which isn’t surprising due to the city’s impressive architecture. The city of Oxford once inspired poet, Matthew Arnold, to describe it as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ after seeing Oxford’s 38 colleges including Oxford University, established in the 12th century.
Whilst they go about their day to day lives, the people of Oxford feel connected with their city’s heritage via Oxford’s historic streets. It is no surprise that the beauty of Oxford has caught the attention of many filmmakers, and has been featured in many films including the Harry Potter series.
Located in central southern England, the coldest month in Oxford on average is January with temperatures at 4°C (39°F), and July being on average the hottest month with temperatures rising to 16°C (61°F). December is the wettest month for Oxford with an average of 64mm of rainfall.
Oxford has many students which, despite the weather, makes finding things to do an easy task. Oxford has a wide range of shops, bars, and pubs including Westgate Shopping Center right in the heart of the city. If you’re looking for something less mainstream, Oxford also offers ‘hidden gems’ such as the Oxford Covered Market.
The city of Oxford may still have reminders of the past and how things used to be but many people who live and visit Oxford believe it to have a modern, laid back atmosphere. A blessing and a curse of Oxford is the amount of students and tourists that visit the city. On the one hand, they bring culture, diversity, and trade but on the other hand, the city can get busy and crowded.
Oxford provides approximately 104,000 jobs and is home to around 158,000 residents and 4,300 businesses. Some of the major employers in the city include: BMW, Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd, Oxford Bus Company, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital NHS Trust and of course, the University of Oxford.
Oxford’s most recent estimation of the city’s unemployment rate is 3.7% which is notably below the national average of unemployment which is 6.0% at the time of writing. If you are an expat, looking for work in Oxford, the Oxford Mail is a brilliant place to look for vacancies and also has online job listings that get regularly updated.
With around 20% of people working in either retail, catering or hotels, the service industry is big in Oxford and a great place to start job hunting. Many employees see people who are bilingual as being very useful to them so you can make speaking two or more languages a positive for yourself.
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There are several key aspects to living in Oxford that you should familiarize yourself with before moving there.
To feed the average person with the recommended calorie intake for western food in Oxford daily would be on average $9.40 making that $291.40 a month. Milk, bread and other necessities normally costing individually under 81c each.
Dining out in Oxford varies between restaurants that will cost on average $55.85 for a romantic meal for 2, while a fast food combo meal will set you back about $6.25. If you’re a fan of beer, the average domestic beer in Oxford cost $4.22 per 0.5 liter, while imported beer is just a tad more at around $4.28 per 0.33 liter bottle.
Healthcare treatment at hospitals in Oxford is free for people who have a European Health Insurance Card and also for UK state pensioners that live in the European Economic Area. GP appointments and accident and emergency treatment are free to all. Oxford’s healthcare has mainly good feedback, scoring very highly on its modern equipment but falling short on responsiveness.
A one way ticket via bus in Oxford will cost $2.65, a monthly pass costing $59 and a taxi 620 miles (normal tariff) costing $1.78.There are regular bus and train services to and from Oxford to London and the surrounding area, including a direct coach from as little as $6.25.
The average rent per month for a 1 bedroom apartment in Oxford’s city center is $1,235 and for a 3 bedroom, $2,422. For a 1 bedroom apartment outside the center would on average be $1,030 and a 3 bedroom would be $1642. The cost of living in Oxford proves to be very high compared to other major cities.
Due to Oxford revolving around the university, the city has made room for students and their accommodation resulting in a lot more people living in apartments rather than houses. The average house price in Oxford is 16.1 times the average wage of someone working in Oxford.
London house prices are 15.7 times more, which is why more people rent in Oxford than buy. The average price of a terraced property in Oxford is is just under $372,665. Oxford’s house prices have had a year-on-year rise of 9.8 percent.
Family-friendly: Summertown and Kidlington are both family-friendly neighbourhoods. Both are in the catchment areas for some of the best state and private schools and have attractive residential areas.
Upmarket: Headington is a more upscale neighbourhood, though with a lot of students, and also nice restaurants and tea rooms.
Hip and trendy: East Oxfordand Jericho are particularly hip and trendy neighbourhoods with louche bars and an art-house cinema.
Up and coming: Botley is definitely the next it neighbourhood with house prices rising to 10% above their previous peak in 2007 and being located just a 10 minutes journey from the city centre.
Cost of moving
Take a look at the following estimates based on the use of a 20 ft container for your move to Oxford. Insurance and other fees such as import duty will be all added extras after the price of your container. Note, this does not include the cost of flights or UK visas.
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Schools and education
There are over 15 primary and secondary schools in Oxford ranging from both the CofE (Church of England) to Catholic religion. Each school differs in their class sizes and which secondary schools and colleges are in their catchment area. There are several international schools in Oxford including the Oxford International Study Centre. To find out more about how good the schools are in Oxford visit Ofsted’s website.
Oxford University is one of the top universities in the world, ranking first in the world for clinical, pre-clinical and health studies. According to the Complete University Guide, Oxford University is the 2nd best university in the UK after Cambridge.
Ranking against the world
The city of Oxford may have a reputation for being expensive due to the amount of tourists that visit but compared to other UK cities such as London, Oxford is a cheaper place to live. With the cost of transport being 46% less and housing 27% less than in London, it is easy to see the benefits. Comparing Oxford to a less central city, such as Brighton, food is 6% more expensive in Oxford than in Brighton.
Oxford already has a big community of expats who have a very approachable and friendly attitude to welcoming more expats. Internations.org gives you the chance to meet likeminded people and swap advice on moving before you already have. Oxford is very lucky to have Oxford City Council’s Culture Team who are responsible for cultural development and supporting international links.
A day in the life
By choosing to move to Oxford you can take advantage of how the city can offer you a diverse style of life. You can live in one city that not only transports you all the way back to medieval times, but also allows you to enjoy the city’s modern environment with clubs and bars. The chance of waking up every morning and having a city full of knowledge and inspiration right on your doorstep is something that shouldn’t be passed up on.
After finding a place within a big industry such as the service industry in Oxford, you can unwind in a city that has so much to offer from museums, family friendly restaurants and trendy clubs. All with the knowledge that there’s always something for everyone regardless of age or nationality. Oxford’s peaceful and relaxing vibe can help you centre yourself as you embark on a new beginning.
The fact that Oxford has the most published writers per square mile than anywhere in the world, should say a lot about the city. By being part of Oxford’s neighbourhood and communities you can meet a wide range of different people from all walks of life. If you are looking to start a new life in a city that’s safe, friendly and cultured then Oxford is perfect for you.