tl;dr: Do FOSDEM! Watch the Rust talks!
About an year ago I was finishing my internship at Mozilla and giving a very meaningful step in my career. I moved to a different continent, completely changed the area to which I'm working with in Computer Science and learned a bunch of new things. Because a lot of things happened in this year and only now things started to settle down I had never used my travel stipend. I'm glad that I used it to go to Brussels and its Open Source Events because because it was an amazing experience!
The first conference of my list was CHAOS. I made some small contributions to the CHAOS project in the past contributing with some research regarding user's gender distribution in Github, it was one of my first open source contributions and I really enjoyed talking to the people of the project online. I decided to attend to their conference to learn more about the community and understand what they were up to nowadays.
I was happy to see a good amount of representativeness in the event and I felt very welcomed by the people there. There were many interesting talks regarding how to strength open source communities: by using data to understand your user behaviour, using machine learning to try to have a broader understanding of what’s going on in your repositories and other general tips about giving importance to diversity and inclusion. It was a very heart warming environment and I personally I feel like it’s important to attend to this kind of event to keep the flame of the open source and inclusion spirit alive and also mingle between like minded people.
After that we moved to Delirium, which is a famous bar in Brussels where everybody attending the conferences get together. It's a very cool place, a huge party full of nerds (where nobody will actually judge you if you're being nerdy). If you want to get inside you'll have to answer one of the two questions "What's your favorite Linux distribution" or "What's your favorite open source text editor" - unless you're a woman and the person there assumes you don't know the answer to these questions and just awkwardly asks you if you're there for the conference.
In the next day, FOSDEM! Wow, what an amazing conference, there are at least 20 conferences happening in that one place. You can find a little bit of everything. I met some old friends, got a better idea about projects I didn't know much about, got to know the faces behind the IRC handles of some people, I also learned about some cool projects like A.D 0 and musescore that I didn't know before and which now I'm very interested in contributing to.
I've watched a couple of talks, way less than I had planned. My schedule consisted of a very well organized list of talks lined up one after the other, fulfilling the whole two days of conferences.
But oh well, the rumors were true, FOSDEM is simply too much, it's impossible to watch a full day of talks, unless you stay in a room and never leave it. Instead of watching the dozens of talks I had planned, I watched only a few, fortunately most of them were really interesting. I was also able to get in in all of the rooms I tried to (even though sometimes this meant sitting on the floor).
My favorite talks were the ones about Rust, if you don't know Rust head over here to learn more about it! (I immensely encourage you to learn it, whoever you are, whatever your skill levels are). The thing with me now is that I'm in this Sisyphus quest of becoming a better developer and Rust has been teaching me how to in a very natural and pleasant way, likewise, going to the Rust talks not only taught me new amazing things about Rust, but also about how to be a good developer in general. If you're interested in the talks that happened there you can find them in this link. The disclaimer alert here is: take care with what established computer people are saying that's good and bad about coding, be critical, but at the same time, open, and you'll benefit a lot from them.
FOSDEM was great, very well organized, clean, had some great food (and cheap too!) and I never felt disrespected in any moment. I just wished we had had more diversity on it both in attendees and speakers.
I was also lucky to be able to go to MOSS, support my friends project's and network with some cool Open Source people and learn about their projects, while enjoying some nice wine and cheese.
All in all thanks a lot, FSF, Outreachy, Mozilla, and specially the people, Mike, Karl, Sage, + shout out for the specially amazing people I met in the H building (I don't know enough names!), but thanks to everybody that had an input for me to live this very cool experience. <3