International flags on display outside of a government building
International Community
Overview

Cultural Hub Outside the Nation’s Capital

A diverse population brings equally diverse festivals, restaurants and school programs in Northern Virginia.

Northern Virginia is one of the most diverse communities in America. More than 30% of Fairfax County residents are foreign-born and 40% of businesses are minority-owned while global behemoths like Samsung and Rolls Royce maintain major operations in the area.

A cultural ripple effect is felt throughout Northern Virginia, with annual events celebrating Japanese, German and Irish traditions, public and private schools offering dual-language and immersion programs, and restaurants serving authentic cuisine from global destinations.

International Leaders in Northern Virginia

More than 430 companies from 49 countries have operations in Fairfax County, spanning the fields of information technology, telecommunications, aerospace and automotive. Among them are Airbus, SAP, Samsung, Tata, Volkswagen and Rolls Royce. Multinational corporations, a sizable number of smaller firms are entering the U.S. market via Northern Virginia.

Korea and the United Kingdom are the top investors in Fairfax County, each with more than 60 companies in the area. Washington Dulles International Airport, a major transatlantic gateway serving 54 international destinations, is a direct link to global markets.

Experience Cultures Firsthand

The National Cherry Blossom Festival extends beyond the parade and famed cherry blossoms to year-round programs, events and educational initiatives to showcase Japanese culture and build community spirit. From Japanese Culture day at the Fairfax County Visitor Center to Cherry Blossom STEM Day at the Children’s Science Center in Fairfax, Northern Virginia proudly joins in the celebration of the U.S.-Japan partnership.

Each year the Chinese New Year Festival puts on stage performances, craft exhibition, family activities, the dragon parade and more. The Ballyshaners works to promote and preserve Irish heritage most recognizably through its annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Alexandria and the Alexandria Irish Festival. Oktoberfest celebrations spotlight German traditions and cuisine as hosted by the Fort Belvoir Family and MWR and Vienna Business Association and Town of Vienna.

Global Approach to Education

Parents have a number of internationally minded educational choices for their children in Northern Virginia. Starting at preschool, students can be immersed in Spanish, French and Mandarin education at CommuniKids’ Falls Church location. Several language-specific schools provide year-round education, after school programs, summer camps and/or cultural programs for youth, such as India International School and Cultural Center, Sasuga Japanese Academy and Wei Hwa Chinese School in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia Chinese Academy in Falls Church and Virginia Russian Academy in Loudoun County.

Northern Virginia’s public schools also champion diversity. Alexandria City Public Schools enrolls 15,000 K-12 students hailing from 120 countries and speaking more than 120 languages and ranks as the nation’s #12 most diverse school district according to Niche, while Arlington Public Schools’ student population of 28,000 hails from 150 countries and speaks 110 languages represented across the district. Several districts offers dual language/immersion programs, including Arlington Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools.

The Best from Around the World

Experience the world from Northern Virginia’s restaurant scene. No matter the cuisine, Northern Virginia has it—upscale Japanese at a casual price point at Nasime, modern European at Maple Ave Restaurant, the best of East Africa at Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant, Middle Eastern delights at Afghan Bistro and a flavorful mix of American, Korean and Cajun dishes at Mokomandy.