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X-Culture Stories

X-Culture Stories

I don’t know how much more I can add to Dr. Taras’ very thorough analysis of the event, but I will attempt to fill in some of the gaps.

Dr. Leilani Baumanis – one and only, always there making sure all goes well.

The Beginning:



  • 150 students from 43 countries, plus 20 professors took part in X-Culture Symposium in Miami
  • Hosts, partners: Hard Rock International / Seminole Gaming, American Airlines, UPS, JWU, UNCG
  • Meetings with top managers and behind-the-scenes tours of Port of Miami, Miami International Airport, Hard Rock Casino and Hotel
  • Career development workshops, seminars, meetings with top managers, community leaders, academics.
  • Training and competitions: Hard Rock Challenge and Presentation, Elevator Pitch, Resume, Job Interview, Social Media
  • Social: Welcome Dinner, Pool Party, Salsa class, Hard Rock reception, a series of cocktail and networking events, Gala Dinner
  • Most attendees got some form of travel funding
  • Successful test of the X-Culture Research Hackathon pilot

X-Culture Team X



A true member of the X-Culture family poses for a photo with an “X”.
The “X” comes in a variety of forms, each with its hidden meaning and mythology.

Nobody knows how the “X” made its way into the X-Culture photos.

The first known X-Photo dates October 14, 2013. It is a class of Vilnius University students who took part in X-Culture in 2013-2b.
Nobody at the admin office recognized the deep meaning of the “X” symbol in the photo and it was lost in our archives. Until it was rediscovered a few years later after the “X” had become part of the X-Culture mythology and symbolism.

The First Known X-Photo, 2013-2b, Vilnius University, Lithuania



As we are preparing for the upcoming X-Culture Symposium in Miami, we encountered a peculiar problem:

Transportation from the airport to the JWU where the Symposium will take place. An Uber will cost abouut $15, and a regular taxi can be up to $25 for the ride, quite expensive for a student. Public transport (bus, metro) is very limited and hard to navigate for a newcomer. 


Experts wrote the Encyclopedia Britannica, and it ruled for 250 years. Then amateurs wrote Wikipedia.

I was recently asked to talk about when it is better to hire an expert, and when it is better to crowd-source the task. Here is what I have to say about that:


X-Culture has a unique problem. It’s hard to make photos “about” X-Culture.

It’s easy to have photos “about” a business, or “about” a university. You take photos of the office building, or campus, or your employees in a conference room, or your product, or students in a classroom.

That won’t work for X-Culture. We have thousands of people, but no office building, tangible product, or campus.

We have countless live webinars and meetings. We even have regular X-Culture symposia where students and professors meet face to face.

Yet, it’s hard to take a photo that would capture the essence of our project: global interconnectedness, experiential learning, students from around the world working with companies around the world.


We tried several options.


Story by Terry Gallagher

Dr. Taras,

This past semester I took International Business under the tutelage of  Professor Lynden.  In that class I was enrolled in your “project” called X-Culture. Through the process of writing the report due at the end of the class, it never clicked with me what exactly we were doing.

As an avid reader of biographies, tech stories, and business books I stumbled on the Phil Knight (founder of Nike) book “Shoe Dog“. If you do not know the story of Nike here is a quick synopsis:


The 2017-1 round of X-Culture is over and here are some satisfaction statistics from the almost 5,000 students who participated this time.

Overall peer evaluations averaged around 4.0=”Good”. As you see, a small percent of the students got low peer evaluations, but the vast majority (about 85%) are above “OK” and most are in the “Good” range. So despite some slackers, the vast majority of the students left their teams happy.


Confession: I am an audio book addict.

I listen to books all the time: when I bike, drive, in the gym, mow grass, clean my house, do laundry, repairs my house, jog, cook, take shower, and even swim.

In fact, I can’t do some things without an audio book. E.g., my bike won’t move until I hit play.

Moreover, the addiction is so strong that when my neighbor gave me “The Fine Print” for birthday, and after the first 20 pages I realized the book is good, I could not force myself to do nothing but sit and read. I went to Audible and bought an audio version.

6 advantages of audio books:

1. You can finish two full size books (15 hours/400 pages) a week WITHOUT wasting a single extra minute on reading. You just read (listen) when you do physical tasks.
I audio-read 2 hours a day on work days and 4-5 hours a day weekends. About 30 min on my bike from home to work, door to door, that’s 1 hour. Gym, chores around the house, brushing teeth, dressing – another hour. Weekends, house renovations, cleaning, mowing, or a road trip – another 4-5 hours, or even sometimes 8-9.


As we are getting ready for the X-Culture Symposium in Miami in July, one issue we have to deal with is the U.S. visa.

Out of hundreds of applicants, we eventually narrowed our roster to 150 top-notch students from 54 countries. Most either did not need a U.S. visa or easily obtained one. However, some students received a rejection.