Eastern Alum Michael Krigline was at Homecoming this year, but he wasn’t on campus just to socialize: he was here to show Eastern what he has been doing in China.
Krigline has been teaching English at Chinese universities for ten years in Shanghai, Xi’an and Yunnan, most recently at Kunming Medical University. Leaning on 2 Corinthians 5:20 for inspiration, Krigline also sees himself as an “ambassador for Christ.” He also works with the Jian Hua Foundation, a group that places Christian professionals in mainland China.
“When I teach them something, and I see a light bulb go off (in their head), that’s the greatest moment,” Krigline said.
Krigline graduated from Eastern in December of 1983 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Social Work. But Eastern was not his first college, Krigline attended Ohio State University for three years before he decided to transfer.
“I wanted to go somewhere where the belief system (held by the Social Work department) was in line with the Bible’s,” Krigline said.
While at Eastern, Krigline enjoyed many things, including taking photos of the campus, watching concerts in the gym and going to his field placement in Chinatown which, in his opinion, is “the coolest place in the world to have a field placement.”
After Eastern, Krigline studied Mandarin at Xiamen University for two years then taught in Beijing for half a year before returning to the U.S. and going to Colombia International University. While there, he met his future wife, Vivian, and received a Master’s in English education as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies.
Krigline, his wife and their son Andrew have been in China since 2000, but they don’t miss America all that much. “Everybody misses food, family, and your church, but you get an international family, a new church, and you get to have a relationship with people who are different from yourself,” he said.
If Krigline could give one piece of advice for Eastern students, it would be this: “Look for happiness in the path of significance instead of in material success. Let your faith produce a life of integrity and compassion, and you’ll be the ‘salt and light’ Jesus wants to use to add spice and illumination to our world.”
“Valuing diversity is one of the things I learned at Eastern,” Krigline said. “My friends and teachers helped shape me into the ‘world Christian’ that I’ve become, and I’ll ever be grateful for my time at Eastern.”
Visit www.krigline.com for more information about Krigline and his work in China.