Preparing for Plone Conference 2017 in Barcelona

Plone Conference 2017, a new adventure, which required to get a US and Schengen Visa to travel to Barcelona
Preparing for Plone Conference 2017 in Barcelona

Before I get in the nitty-gritty of going to the Plone Conference 2017 in Barcelona, I must tell you how I got this opportunity in the first place. In summer 2017, I got an opportunity to work on a large-scale open source project through Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

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Google Summer of Code is a global internship program that focuses on introducing students to open-source software development. For me, I worked on the Plone open source software. You can read my previous blog post about my project and experience during Google Summer of Code to find out more of what I did. Upon completing GSoC, I was given the opportunity to present my project at the Plone Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Of course, I took the offer as a newly alumni student from the University of West Indies that is ready to spread his wings and fly. However, with any new adventure, there are requirements and things that one need to know and do before proceeding. In my case, I had to get the following:

  • An invitation letter from the Plone Foundation.
  • Bank Statements referring to the US and the Spanish Embassies.
  • Graduate Status Letters from the University of the West Indies referring to the various Embassies.
  • Job Letters referring to the US and the Spanish Embassies.
  • The application forms for the US and the Spanish Schengen Visa.
  • Four passport size photos, two for each application form.

At this point, you may be wondering why is the US visa needed? Well, the US Visa is needed because I will be transiting through the US to go to Spain. As a result, I'm required to either have a US transit Visa or a regular US Visa. In my case, I'm going for the visitor's Visa. Even though the conference is October 16, which is two weeks away, I'm still caught up with the Visa applications. Yes, I applied for an emergency US Visa through a well-known Jamaican travel agency called Trafalgar Travel Limited. The agent that is taking care of my application is quite friendly, resourceful and reliable. Therefore, I'm not worried about my travel deadline, at least at the time I'm writing this blog. What about travel costs, accommodation, and other concerns? Some of you may wonder. Sometime in September 2017, my employer and I ran a crowdfunding campaign asking individuals to help two plonistas get from Jamaica to Barcelona (Catalonia) for the 2017 Plone Conference. The campaign was successful and we raised $1,650 USD to sponsor both of our trips. In addition, the Plone Foundation was generous to sponsor a large sum of funds, which is separate from the funds generated from the crowdfunding campaign. In addition, a room was sponsored to me for my stay. Therefore, accommodation, travel costs, and other expenses are already taken care of. So where do I go from here? At this moment, I'm waiting for my passport to be returned to me by the US Embassy in order for us (the travel agent and I) to start the Spanish Schengen application process. Once that is done, then I will purchase my plane ticket and attend the conference.

October 10, 2017 Update

It has been a week since I posted this and applied for an emergency US Visa. I'm not sure if I will be going since I'm five (5) days away from the official start date of the Plone Conference 2017. I've called the US embassy and checked online about my visa application. However, both mediums stated that the visa was issued but not ready for pickup. In addition, they've informed me as soon as it is ready for pickup, I will get an email from DHL (a courier service in Jamaica) that my package is ready for pickup. Nevertheless, I've contacted the Spanish Embassy in Jamaica and they've told me that as soon as I get my passport back from the US Embassy, they will try and get the Visa application completed before my trip. However, they've urged me to get it as soon as possible because this coming Thursday is a holiday for Spanish. Therefore, the Spanish Embassy will be closed.

October 13, 2017 Update

On 12th of October, my passport was returned to me by the US Embassy via DHL. I was given an adequate amount of years to travel to the US. Today, October 13 was the most difficult Visa acquisition I've done thus far. I had to request an emergency Visa application from the Spanish Embassy. Please note, they don't do emergency Visa application. However, the folks at the Embassy was very kind and cooperative enough to work on my case. In a matter of hours, I got through. If it weren't for them, arriving at Spain would be impossible in such a short time. For that, I give my thanks to the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica. Afterwards, my employer and my travel agent joined forces and worked on buying the ticket for me. At this point, seven (7) hours away from flight time, I've done the majority of the preparation. In essence, it's a tedious task to do, but it will be done. Plone 2017 Conference will not miss me, nor Barcelona.

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