Getting the most enjoyment out of your stay in Germany can depend on the answer to one question: how good is public transport? Luckily, it is very good.
In all major German cities there are many modes of transport available to you. These include Bus, Train (Bahn), Tram (S-Bahn), and Underground (U-Bahn). And with your Semesterticket(the student ticket for transport) you can use them all for free (within a certain region). This really helps save money and you don’t have to worry about having the correct change to pay your fare. As is to be expected of the German transport system, everything runs on time or at least near enough to it. If a bus or train says it will depart at a certain time, 90% of the time it will. Of course it suffers from the problems transport have such as weather conditions or missing connection due to late arrivals. So make sure you arrive before the departure time or you could end up having to wait for the next bus or train!
Another benefit of the Semesterticket is that at certain times your ticket is good to use for two people instead of one. This means that you and a friend can both travel for free with your ticket. Usually this applies after a certain time during the week (for instance after 7pm in Bonn) and on weekends (all day). This is a really great use to make of your ticket and comes in handy if you have someone visiting you. However, if you plan on visiting another city in Germany outside of the region of your Semsterticket, your Semesterticket won’t cover your costs. Travelling by train can be expensive, especially with fast trains like the ICE, but if you book well in advance the cost can be much less .
Aside from the buses and trains, you can of course cycle. Germans have a great passion for cycling and take any opportunity they can to cycle. For students, owning a bike can be the easiest, and cheapest, way of getting around. You can either buy a brand new bike from a shop or try and get one second hand. With so many people in Germany cycling there will always be people selling old bikes much cheaper than shops. A good place to check for second hand bikes would be the notice board in your university or Studentenwerk There are even bike markets held in universities or public places from time to time. Some cities hold bike auctions or Fahrradversteigerungen to sell abandoned bicycles found in the city. You should try and find out if there are any happening near you as it is a great way to get a bike very cheaply. Once you have your bike, you will of course need a lock. Expensive bikes tend to get stolen often so you should invest in a good lock for you bike. A general rule of thumb is that your lock should be worth 10% of your bike. For example if your bike cost €300 then your lock should cost €30. This video, while situated in Ireland not Germany, offers some good advice on how to pick a lock and use it well.
Getting around your city and indeed Germany is made much easier by the good service offered by public transport. Travelling around your city should prove easy and after a few weeks you will be well used to it and wonder how you ever got around without it!