For some time now I thought it was time for Bosnia and Herzegovina to have a Google Summer of Code meetup. In the past 9 years of GSoC, Bosnia had 4 different students doing 5 projects. A few times I thought about organizing the meetup but I was not sure if anybody would come to listen to what I have to say, and I finally decided to take this project on myself and was excited to see the results.
After successfully completing the Google Summer of Code program as a student twice (in 2012 and 2013), I now had a lot of insight into the program and people had more reason to be interested in my talk.
Though the logistics weren't terribly difficult to arrange, I needed a room (I reserved the conference amphitheater at the International University of Sarajevo where I am a student), a laptop and a projector. We held the meetup on November 12 with a group of 20 students in attendance, including five from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering - University of Sarajevo, and three IUS professors.
We kicked things off with GSoC slides and an overview of the program, including info about projects from previous years, open source/free software in general and a few tips and tricks. I wrapped up with some of my personal experiences in the program. Probably the most important thing that happened at the meetup was to alleviate some of the fear around applying for Google Summer of Code. It took me two years to get it together and gather the nerve to send my first email to a mentoring organization, so I tried to explain to the people at the meetup that they should not be afraid, "If I could do it, why can't you?"
Based on the number of questions and the quality of the discussion after the presentation, it was clear that the main goal of the meetup was achieved: drive interest in the program. A number of students that came to the meetup plan on applying for GSoC, and though this is still a relatively small number, it's the beginning of what will hopefully be strong participation from Bosnia and Herzegovina students. I look forward to organizing at least one more meetup in the future.
Admir Huric, thank you for your help with this story.
By Benjamin Talic, Google Summer of Code 2012 and 2013 student