Living in Augsburg is easy to adjust to as the city has all the modern amenities and conveniences of many others. As a central transportation and business hub, the public transportation system runs good hours, keeping the city accessible and reducing the need for private cars. The trams and buses run until midnight on average, with special nightlines running on weekends until 3am.
While steeped in traditional and modern German culture, the city also has some very distinct international areas. Almost 18% of the combined student populations of the two universities are foreign students. Not only will you find ethnic restaurants and shops, you will hear more than just German spoken in the streets and markets.
There are two main shopping areas in Augsburg, the modern and mall like City Galerie and the downtown center shopping area. Scattered throughout the city are small markets that will occur on the weekends in the local squares. Most of the downtown shopping can be found between the Town Hall and the central train station. Downtown is also where the major fresh market occurs on the weekends; here you will find flowers, meats, cheeses and vegetables. Most stores are closed on Sundays except for major events and holidays.
One thing you need to be very aware of is the practice of paying in Germany is very different from in many other countries. Most retailers and stores do not take credit or debit cards. In fact, it is best to call ahead as many restaurants and fuel stations also do not accept them. There are plenty of ATMs available from the major German banks, but make sure you are aware of the fees and charges for using them that may be charged by the ATM provider and your bank. Citibank and Bank of America both have reciprocal agreements with German banks that allow their account users to access their ATMs without high penalty fees.
Getting on the Internet and using a cell phone can also require some extra steps, depending on what you are using. As long as your mobile phone is a tri or quad band, it will work in Germany. Most German phones are GSM standard. Mobile phone coverage is excellent throughout most of Germany. You can purchase pre-paid calling cards and rent a handset on a weekly basis if that makes more fiscal sense than purchasing a GSM phone and getting a German service provider. If you are renting, you may be surprised to discover that many of the apartments still have a landline in place. You can turn the service on temporarily with a small deposit fee. While mobile phones are much in evidence in Germany, they do not have the status and common use that one sees in countries like the United Kingdom or United States of America.
There are many Wi-Fi hot spots around and the city is considered to be very Internet friendly. Most of the Internet service spots are free but paid service is also available