Studying Abroad: Kellie Clinton

The Ampelmann, or traffic light man that is used in Germany holds a T when a pedestrian must stop and is in a walking position when it is safe to walk.

Kellie Clinton photo

The Ampelmann, or “traffic light man” that is used in Germany holds a ‘T’ when a pedestrian must stop and is in a walking position when it is safe to walk.

I went on the short-term faculty led study abroad trip. There, I studied science and technology while traveling to France, Poland and Germany. One of my favorite parts of studying abroad was walking around the streets of Berlin, Germany. Something that I thought was very interesting was that at the different stop lights, the Berlin pedestrian signs were different than here in the United States. In America, our pedestrian light is a person walking, but in Germany they have Ampelmann which is translated to “traffic light man.” Ampelmann is a man wearing a hat that will hold his arms straight out in a ‘T’ for stop and is walking for go. My professor told us a story that when World War II ended and Germany was remodeling the city, they were going to change the pedestrian lights. The city heard about it and started protesting. They said that Ampelmann made them happy and they did not want to change it. That is why today they still have Ampelmann. Germany even has stores specifically for “traffic light man.” The stores make shirts and pencils with him printed on it. I thought the idea was so cute I got my mom a towel with him on it. I really liked the idea of Ampelmann. Every time I was him, he just made me smile while I was walking down the street.

In Berlin, we had some free time so my classmates and I walked around. As we were walking, we heard music coming from a doorway so we wanted to go check it out. Someone on the streets said, “It’s wild in there.” Walking in, we saw the coolest graffiti! There were pictures of lions and people. So much color everywhere! One of my favorite graffiti pictures was a picture of the city. There were skyscrapers everywhere and the picture just looked so real. The place was so pretty. People were just sitting around, eating, and listening to music. We hung out there for a little bit just admiring the art. That was one of my favorite moments on the trip and I can’t wait to go back.

You can contact the Education Abroad office for more information by emailing [email protected] or calling them at 608-342-1726.