London is without doubt the biggest melting pot in the UK – people for all around the world live here and have been coming here for hundreds of years. If you look even further back then there has been virtually constant immigration to London – of course one of the best known groups of immigrants were the Romans over 2000 years ago! There are several legacies of this movement of people – the multiculturalism we enjoy in London – a huge variety of restaurants, music, fashion, religions for example and also a huge variety of languages spoken. We know that students want to come to the UK to study English (and many of them want to come to London) and so this is an additional source of international visitors coming here and adding to the general colour of London. You might think the most widely spoken languages are European, but in a recent survey of 850,000 children – asking what the first language they spoke at home was – the most commonly spoken language were: English (71%), Bengali & Silheti (5%), Panjabi (3.5%), Gujerati (3%), Hindi/Urdu (3%), Turkish (2%), Arabic (1%). Greek, Spanish, French and Portuguese are the most widely spoken European languages and all about the same numbers – under 1% each. So, you can assume that around 30% of the population in London doesn’t speak English at home, and this alongside another statistic – that around 10% of school children don’t have English as their first language – surely must give London the title of ‘most diverse city on the planet’.
In UIC you will find students from over 50 different countries every year – all here to learn English and all here to add colour to the city – not to mention bringing millions and millions of pounds into the local economy – whether from their school fees, the accommodation fees or just the money they spend day to day on ravel, food, newspapers and so on. These students are not only valuable culturally, but economically and hopefully one day the government will recognise this!