Life in Frankfurt
Welcome to Frankfurt! Life in a new city or new country can be challenging, so in order to make your first steps easier, we thought we’d help you get to know your new home.
The Goethe University Guide for Visiting Students (PDF) has lots of information on how to get your residency permit and other steps to take before leaving home and upon arrival—and the International Office will be there to help answer any questions. They have compiled a wide range of practical and interesting information for international students which you can find here.
Frankfurt actively encourages new students to come to this lively, cosmopolitan city. While Frankfurt is one of Europe’s transportation hubs and economic centers, with just under 700,000 inhabitants, it is often called “the smallest metropolis in the world". Frankfurt was ranked the "most liveable" city in Germany by the Economist in August 2018, and the 12th most liveable city worldwide.
Although it offers many of the benefits of larger urban centers, getting around Frankfurt is quick and easy by bike or public transportation. The Goethe Card that all students receive offers free local transportation on trains, buses, and trams through much of the southern part of the state of Hessen. Yet without even leaving the city, Frankfurt’s broad array of museums—many of which line the banks of the Main River—and cultural institutions offer students the opportunity to dive into theater or art with steep student discounts.
Located close to Germany’s most picturesque wine-growing region, Frankfurt is a green city with over 120 parks. Nature lovers can explore the hills and valleys of the nearby Taunus area—or take a boat trip or train ride up the Rhine River. And sports fans will be able to join one of over 450 sports clubs in the city (in addition to those offered at the university), as well take advantage of public pools, golf courses, and boat houses.
Plenty of outdoor markets, cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens are also found among the tree-lined streets in Frankfurt. Local specialties such as Apfelwein (apple cider) and Grüne Soße (a fresh, green herb sauce most often served with eggs and potatoes) are often served in rustic, corner restaurants, some of which have been around for centuries. And with the highest percentage of international residents in Germany, you can easily visit restaurants and buy ingredients from nearly every world cuisine.
Book lovers will also enjoy the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest trade book fair which draws close to 300,000 visitors each October. And for international visitors who are eager to explore the rest of Europe, Frankfurt is an ideal location. With one of the busiest airports in continental Europe and serving as a major train hub, it’s easy to take weekend trips to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, the Swiss Alps, Vienna, and many, many other destinations.
Extensive information on events, living in Frankfurt, business, culture, tourism, and city government is available at Frankfurt’s official website: frankfurt.de
The Goethe Card gives students free use of public transportation in the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) and the Übergangstarifgebiet zum Verkehrsverbund Rhein Neckar (VRN) through the RMV-AStA semester ticket (valid from 1 October or 1 April, respectively).
The area covers all of southern and central Hessen, and includes free use of all trains, trams and buses with the exception of IC, EC and ICE trains. The RMV website has a “route planner” on every page to help you find the best way to get to your destination, and all signs are in both German and English throughout the city. You can also download an RMV app for your mobile phone.