Broadening cultural horizons

London is the most culturally diverse city in the UK.

As a language student, cultural diversity was one of my considerations when choosing which university to attend. Naturally, I was drawn to London; the vibrant UK capital where over 8 million people live and more than 300 languages are spoken. You hear it everyday, but London really is a melting pot, of colours, creeds and everything in-between. As a Geordie girl, I spent the first 18 years of my life thinking that Newcastle really was the world, the be all and end all of life and society. We’re encouraged to think that the Toon is yem, and yem’s all we’ve got (Yem means home for anyone unfamiliar with the Geordie lingo).

I spent my school years obsessed with learning languages, spending hours looking up French grammar or studying Spanish culture. I think it’s fair to say that I learned the languages but I didn’t really know what I was learning them for. I was told that there was a big wide world out there, but what could be bigger and better than Newcastle? Well… London. London is officially the most linguistically diverse city in the world, and with language comes culture.

On any given day in London, I can guarantee that you will hear at least five different languages spoken, see people from at least ten different countries and learn something about the world that you just can’t learn anywhere else in the UK. For me, London is the biggest and best example you can find to prove that multiculturalism is alive and well and that there is no better place to be, in order to make friends from all over the world.

In this sense, you could say that King’s is London on a smaller scale. King’s is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse universities in the UK, we boast almost 140 different nationalities with over 30,000 alumni of international origin, from 180 countries worldwide.

The 2011/12 academic year saw 24,550 students studying at King’s, 7293 of whom were international students. This means 30% of King’s studentship was of foreign origin. Moreover, of the approximately 5030 members of staff, 2076 of them were of international origin – that’s 41%.

The numbers really do speak for themselves. Olympics or not, the motto is still true, London really is ‘the world in one city’, and there’s no better place to feel at home as a world citizen.

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