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Augsburg: Young and historic

Several hundred years ago, visitors described Augsburg as Germany’s “Little Italy”. With its historic city centre, numerous parks and modern university, Augsburg is an attractive and affordable city for students today.

by Janine Funke

Sankt Ulrich and Sankt Afra © S. Kerpf/Stadt Augsburg
Sankt Ulrich and Sankt Afra . © S. Kerpf/Stadt Augsburg

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
269,000
Students:
24,800
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
289 €
Tip:
Discover the beautiful landscape by bike and go on a trip to Bobingen!
Website:
www.augsburg.de

Welcome to Augsburg

You’ll be impressed with Augsburg on your first walk through town. Past the canals and historic buildings, you’ll find yourself strolling down narrow alleyways and over small bridges in the wonderfully quaint historic city centre. Augsburg is now 2,000 years old, making it the second-oldest city in Germany. For a long time, it was also the cultural centre of northern Europe.

Augsburg is well-known for its relaxed atmosphere. At the Rathausplatz – the square in front of the city hall – you’ll discover a number of the city’s most famous landmarks. You can find yourself a comfortable spot right on the brick pavement on the marketplace, listen to street musicians and enjoy the view of the historic city hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Perlachturm, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the city. And if you’re in luck, you’ll be able to spot the Alps on the horizon. And you don’t have to go very far to reach the nearest park. You can walk directly from downtown to the Stadtwald or the Altstadtring with the herbal garden.

Canal at the Brechthaus © Christine Pemsl
Canal at the Brechthaus . © Christine Pemsl

The famous German playwright Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg. The house, where he was born, is now a museum dedicated to his life and works. We also recommend visiting the Mozart House, where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father Leopold was born. Today, the building is a memorial to the Mozart family and a presentation venue for lectures and concerts. Wolfgang Amadeus was a frequent visitor to Augsburg and gave concerts there as well. After Salzburg and Vienna, Augsburg was the third-most important city in the composer’s life.

Living in Augsburg

Augsburg is a great place to live – it’s exciting and affordable, not too overpriced. Compared with nearby Munich, the rental prices downtown are reasonable. The bars and restaurants are much cheaper than in other major German cities. Yet Augsburg has its fair share of cultural highlights.

Square at the town hall © Medien und Kommunikationsamt der Stadt Augsburg
Square at the town hall . © Medien und Kommunikationsamt der Stadt Augsburg

If you live in Augsburg, you should definitely know something about the “Fugger”. Augsburg is often called the “Fugger city”. Fugger was the last name of a well-known family of merchants which became extremely wealthy in the Middle Ages. They were responsible for the construction of many of the canals and historic buildings in town. The most prominent examples are the Fugger houses on Maximilianstrasse in downtown Augsburg.

At the weekends, we recommend spending a day at the Augsburg Zoo. The Botanical Garden is located right next door. It’s worth going to the Botanical Garden on summer evenings when the entire grounds are romantically illuminated. The open air stage at the Rotes Tor, built in 1919, is something you must absolutely see. In the summer months, you can watch operas, operettas and musicals there and attend events and concerts by well-known German artists and bands. And don’t forget the world-famous Augsburger Puppenkiste.

My tip

When it’s sunny at the weekend, you might want to take a bike tour to places around the region. I recommend taking an excursion to Bobingen, and not only for its breath-taking landscape, but also to visit the small village church of St. Felicity.

There are numerous cafés everywhere downtown where you can hang out and relax. Most bars, clubs and restaurants are within walking distance. You should also go to one of the many beer gardens in Augsburg. At the "Drei Königinnen", for example, you can sit under the shady chestnut trees and enjoy one of the many local beers or a cool soft-drink. If you want to “paint the town red”, you’ll meet lots of students at the "Liquidclub" or the "Mo Club". In the summer you can party outdoors from dusk till dawn at the Festival der Kulturen or the Augsburger Jazzsommer festival.

Interview with Raquel from Spain

Raquel García Rubio is 23 years old, comes from Spain, and is pursuing her bachelor’s in Application-Oriented Intercultural Linguistics (ANIS) at the University of Augsburg.

Picture of Raquel from Spain © Raquel García Rubio
Raquel from Spain . © Raquel García Rubio

Why did you come to study in Germany?

I’ve always been interested in languages. When my family moved to Augsburg because my father found a job here, I decided to study here as well. Naturally, I could have gone to Munich, but I liked the degree programme and the university in Augsburg better.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

Luckily I didn’t have to worry about finding accommodation, but I did collect a lot of information about the city and the degree programme. While I was in Spain, I took a German course and reached the B2-C1 level, which I’d recommend to everyone. Of course, you really learn the language once you’re in Germany, but it’s very difficult without any basic knowledge. I also took a preparatory course for the TestDaF, which foreigners have to pass if they intend to study in Augsburg. You also need German to understand all those registration forms. I had very little time to organise everything. You should plan your visit carefully, give yourself time limits and know exactly what kind of data you’ll need for the bureaucratic formalities so that nothing goes wrong.

Augsburger Puppenkiste © S. Kerpf/Stadt Augsburg
Augsburger Puppenkiste . © S. Kerpf/Stadt Augsburg

Were you able to get settled in Augsburg easily?

Augsburg is a small city, but has everything you need. You can reach most places very quickly with public transport and the cost of rent, food and recreation is much lower than in Munich. What’s more, Augsburg is well situated so you can reach other destinations quickly, the train connections are very good, and you don’t have to go far to take a trip to the mountains.

How do you like the university?

I just love the university! There are many degree programmes to choose from, lots of international students and a very high level of quality. Everyone at university is very friendly, and I often meet people whose friends are also my friends. I got to know many Germans very quickly, which was important for improving my German. The Tandem Programme at the university was especially helpful to me.

View of the church St. Ulrich © Regio Augsburg Tourismus GmbH, Bild Felix Hartmann
View of the church St. Ulrich . © Regio Augsburg Tourismus GmbH, Bild Felix Hartmann

How have you financed your studies in Germany?

I was lucky – my parents financed my studies in the beginning. But then I looked for a part-time job and started paying everything myself. There are many websites out there, which post job openings for students. But they usually require very good German skills. The semester contribution is quite low and also includes the semester ticket, which allows you to use public transport, except the night busses.