Q&A with Previous Travel Assistance Recipients

By: Gavin McDonald, Senior Systems Administrator & Project Management Committee Chair, TAC, ASF

ASF’s Travel Assistance program is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to get more involved in the open source community via the ASF. Our Travel Assistance Committee (TAC) helps those who would like to attend ASF events but cannot do so for financial reasons.

If you’re considering applying for travel assistance, read our first blog for more information.

We asked previous travel assistance recipients about their experience, and here’s what they had to say:

Q. What if I’m a newbie or contribute something other than code to ASF projects?

Sharan Foga: I’m not a developer or a technical person, so I was initially concerned that I wouldn’t fit in or that everyone would be speaking ‘tech speak.’ Instead, I found that ASF is like a huge open family; you don’t have to be a techie to be a part of it.

Rafael Weingärtner: [I had the] opportunity to meet great people from around the world—not just technical folks, but also people who know how to create and manage huge projects daily.

Gabriel Beims Bräscher:​ Everyone treats you equally; it does not matter who you are or where you are from because everyone knows you are part of the ASF community. That feels great and made me confident to interact and learn even more.

Q: I don’t know many people who are attending the conference. Will I feel out of place?

Sharan Foga: The TAC team organized a dinner for all the TAC recipients so we could meet and get to know each other informally. This meant that throughout [the conference], we became a micro-community. From the moment you arrive…you are never alone!

Keren Ouaknine: I volunteered to help with the registration desk along with a friend on the first day of the conference. Naturally, I familiarized myself with many attendees, their names, and their workplace/organization. Following this, I no longer felt like a wandering soul seeking a female peer to socialize with (as often happens on conferences of this scale). Instead, I was part of the TAC-ers: a united, incredibly nice, talented, and organized group.

Maxim Solodovnik: I met new friends and many people I was emailing with in person. I can now wear an “Ask me” badge and easily talk to people I have never met before.

Ignasi Barrera: I was surprised by how open and welcoming everyone was. I had the opportunity to talk with TAC, infra, and many people directly involved in the foundation structure, and I always felt like I was part of the same thing. Meeting the people who make the ASF and discovering how open everyone was, was one of the best things.

Q: What would you say to someone considering applying to the TAC travel fund for the first time?

Gabriel Beims Bräscher: [Attending ASF events] is a great experience for a programmer, researcher, and human being. [The experience] opened my mind to new cultures, Apache projects, technologies, and contacts from Apache and the project I am involved in (Apache CloudStack). As a speaker and also [through] the TAC program, I gained confidence in presenting projects and interacting with people from different cultures.

Bhargav Golla: Take your time to answer the questionnaire in detail so that the TAC can understand your case well and ensure you are funded.

Dammina Sahabandu: If you are worried because you have never traveled alone before, please don’t be, because when I applied for [travel assistance] I was a terrified kid who had never traveled out of the country…the TAC guided me through each and every single step to get me over there. So please don’t think twice: this might be the biggest opportunity that you’ll get in your life.

Q. Did the Travel Assistance program meet your expectations?

Bhargav Golla: The Travel Assistance program exceeded my expectations. I assumed that it was just a way for conference attendees to get sponsored. But all the recipients were expected to help in the organization of sessions. This led to increased involvement in the conference and more relationships.

Nitin Kumar Maharana: It was simply beyond my expectations. Everything was smooth, from the application to attending the event in Miami and returning to India. Everything was taken care of very well by TAC.

Keren Ouaknine: The total number of sessions and topics covered in those three conference days was mind-blowing, and I can clearly remember we TAC-ers did not want it to end!

You can read more stories from previous Travel Assistance recipients on the ASF website here.

For more information about the TAC travel fund and the application process, visit https://tac.apache.org.