The Gift Called Life

By Emlyn Lee, Founder

“Life is a gift. If you do not value your gift, nobody else will.” This message was attached to my Yogi tea bag string, ironically, on the eve of my birthday. I come from a family string of gifted sisters that have high achievements within their personal and professional community, yet somewhere along the gene pool, I never embraced science and math like two of my sisters, nor had much talent with music and arts like the other two. In fact, I had a really challenging time figuring out what to major in at college, and what to do career wise.

I love learning, discovering, and education in general, but being a student was not my cup of tea, so I quickly finished college in four years with a communications major. After working in the corporate world for about five months, I jumped off the conveyor belt we seem to mechanically get put on, and went abroad to teach English in China. Some may perceive this as escaping and procrastinating with responsibilities (it’s okay, these thoughts crossed my mind too, and it continues to bring a worry brow across my parents’ forehead), but living and traveling on a Chinese wage budget, buying groceries at the local street market, creating daily lessons to my college students, hanging socks to dry on an outdoor bamboo pole on the seventh floor, and making travel plans for weekend and holiday breaks brought me more ‘life’ skills than any textbooks, diploma, and staff meeting.

After three semesters of teaching, I still wasn’t sure what my ‘calling’ was, yet life kept bringing me gifts of random opportunities. I ended up working as a cruise director on a river boat cruise along the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River, which introduced me to the hospitality and tourism field, where I managed and organized luxury tours all around the globe for three years. Getting a bit restless of over 900 days of international travel, I went back to teaching, and taught ESL and GED to at-need communities in Austin.

After all of these life and global experiences, I came to the realization that these are my gifts! People, cultures, equality, service, diplomacy, education, and travel are my skills set. I may not be able to discover vaccinations, or design jet engines, or be a concert pianist, or build office complexes, but I am capable of sharing my gifts to others. Cultural Embrace exists so we may introduce people to ‘Discover the Similarities and Share the Differences’.

We all have different opinions, expectations, experiences, highs and lows with life. That, in itself, is a gift of being human. Our knowledge and skills at Cultural Embrace are to form the box to best fit your shape, and wrap it up with the appropriate ribbons and wrapping papers. Cultural Embrace’s goal is to bring additional value, so when you receive your package, you will untie the bow and open it to discover the beautiful gift called…LIFE!

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Sep 25, 2021 @ 15:47
With research and planning, you can find a study abroad program that fits your budget. We believe in being up-front with what’s included and avoiding hidden fees.

#apiabroad #ispyapi @apiabroad @shsustudyabroad
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Sep 24, 2021 @ 16:40
Photo contest!
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API Abroad @APIabroad
Calling all API alumni! We know you have some amazing photos from your time abroad with API and guess what?! You now have the chance to win up to $500 cash for showing them off in our 2021 API PHOTO CONTEST!

Click the link to enter!
Sep 21, 2021 @ 12:12
API will be on campuses across the country in the coming days and we would love to talk to you! Come say hi at one of the fairs listed below, and grab some free swag. You can also enter to win a $1,000 flight voucher!

Check out the fairs this week!
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Sep 20, 2021 @ 17:45
Calling all API alumni! We know you have some amazing photos from your time abroad with API and guess what?! You now have the chance to win up to $500 cash for showing them off in our 2021 API PHOTO CONTEST!

Click the link to enter!
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The API Abroad Blog