GO TO #WCEU 2018

Have you ever wondered if it’s “worth it” to get out of your comfy home and head to WordCamp Europe? As regular attendees, we’ve been doing our best to spread the WordCamp Europe gospel with our recaps and interviews.

But maybe our enthusiasm hasn’t been enough to get you to buy your ticket. So we brought in backup! We asked 21 WordCamp Europe attendees for their best #WCEU experiences. Now, we’re going to share their responses with you.

As you’ll see in a second, most of their experiences involve the awesome people they met and connections they made. After reading these stories, hopefully you’ll be one of those people in 2018.

WordPress People Talk About Their Best #WCEU Experiences

Bridget Willard
Bridget Willard: Attending WCEU last year in Paris was a huge step of courage for me – personally and professionally. It was my first time leading a large-scale Contributor Day for the Marketing Team and my first international flight – ever. And I went alone. As you know, with the WordPress Community, you’re never quite alone. I was able to meet many folks who had been on the Marketing Team like Nagesh and Anil from India and I found a new best friend in Yvette Sonneveld, who is now a Marketing Team Rep.

Not only that but I solidified relationships I had with my fellow Marketing Team Reps like Dwayne McDaniel and my best friend Jen Miller, both of whom spoke last year. I am looking forward to WCEU with great delight this year as I’ve been learning Serbian and just booked my flight. Dovidjenja, WCEU.

Alex Denning
Alex Denning: The community! I love the extended opportunity to connect with the people I get to know remotely. Contributor days are the best manifestation of this: you get to work in the same place, on the same things, as some of the smartest and kindest people in the community 🙂
Peter Nemčok: I think the best experience for me is meeting new people and getting to know them a little bit.
Milana Cap: For me it’s very simple. Hugs! WordCamp Europe is large enough so that you can see all your WordPress friends from around the world – people you’ve been online chatting and collaborating with for a whole year, people you still haven’t met, people you learn from.. And you get to hug ’em all. No matter how shy or introvert you are, you’ll take those hugs and return the following year for more. Hug you in Belgrade 😀
Marius Vetrici: WordCamp Europe has always been the place for me to “feel” the community, to understand the power behind WordPress ecosystem and to reconnect to the latest trends and technology. Now, if I have to mention the number one experience, I would refer to the Community workshop at WordCamp Europe back in Sofia. That was the moment when I and a bunch of volunteers got the inspiration to start a local WordPress Meetup.

Ever since, our Bucharest WordPress Meetup @wprobu has grown into a community with more than 1100 members and close to 40 monthly meetings at the time of writing. And that’s very fulfilling, to know that you are paying it forward so that they could reap the benefits of WordPress as well, for their own good and for the good of the others.

Caspar Hübinger: My best experience at WCEU is always the same one: It’s the one event throughout the year where I finally get to meet all the people I’d love to meet at least once a month.
Ivana Ćirković: The very best experience I take out of every WordCamp Europe is the people I meet and knowledge I gather throughout those 4-5 days. All that great energy that is around us, that positive vibe we share, as well as all the valuable information and connections with people. No matter if you’re a volunteer, an attendee or a speaker – each and every one gets to experience the openness of the event and WordPress community. It indeed is one of a kind event that welcomes everyone, which is why I warmly recommend to you to experience it, priceless!
Marcel Bootsman: Since I was asked to join the organizing team for the first WordCamp Europe in Leiden, in 2013, I have met a lot of inspiring people, I have expanded my comfort zone and got to know more about the WordPress Community.

The best experience I had was at WordCamp Europe 2013 in Leiden, where the team of remote organizers met, some for the first time, and it felt like we already knew each other for years. This has laid the base for me to do more community tasks, and I still enjoy that and I hope the community does too 🙂

Nagesh Pai: The best experience I had at WordCamp Europe was being in the company of a community that has had such a positive impact on the world at large. It was good to meet them in person. The best feeling I remember is where I found myself as a global citizen among everyone, welcomed by all as though it was a large family without any boundaries of country, caste, religion or race. It was an awesome feeling indeed!
Mathieu Sarrasin: From my experience so far, my take on how to have the greatest time at a WordCamp is to be a volunteer – if not an organiser or speaker. This is how you get the closest to the heart of the event by being part of it and get to meet even more awesome people. The other volunteers, the organizers, the speakers, and even the attendees and sponsors become easier to approach when you’re part of the team.

WordCamp is not just about WordPress and talks, but it is first and foremost about the great people you meet and the awesome connections you make. I have an encouragement to everyone: Join the #WordPress community. Come for the software, stay for the people.

Another quick tip is, if at all possible, arrange to arrive early (like a day or two prior to the actual event date) and leave late. Great times happen not only during the event, but also around it during informal gatherings and diners and at pubs and co-working spaces – and of course you wouldn’t want to miss the after party!

Jenny Beaumont: Every year has had something new and wonderful to offer me since the very first event in Leiden back in 2013. The best experience has been becoming a part of it all, from attending, to speaking, to MCing and now to organizing for three years in a row.
Taco Verdonschot: WordCamp Europe in Leiden in 2013 was my very first introduction to the WordPress community. In just three days, I met so many people, made friends for life and fell in love with the WP community. I had never before felt this welcome in any community. And to this day, my work as a community manager at Yoast is inspired by that experience.
Sonja Leix: My favorite thing about organizing WordCamp Europe is, seeing our hard work pay off when it all comes together. You can feel the atmosphere and vibrancy of the community grow each year and we’re here to help provide the space for it.
Michael Burridge: The first time that I experienced the energy, the vibrancy, and the buzz of WordCamp Europe was as an attendee at the 2016 event in Vienna. I immediately felt that I belonged and that these were “my people”. The wealth of knowledge and experience that was so readily and freely offered blew me away. This experience was reinforced the following year in Paris. I’m delighted to be part of this amazing and friendly community and feel privileged that I’m able to contribute a little to help organise the 2018 event in Belgrade.
Lucijan Blagonic: The first WordCamp I visited was WordCamp Europe 2013 and it was a turning point for me. It helped me to better understand the core values of our open–source community and empowered me to start giving something back as well, by volunteering, speaking and even organizing these great events.
Jen Miller: My best experience at WordCamp Europe revolves around the people. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at WCEU. It can be a bit intimidating to step on a large stage in front of a worldwide audience, however the organizing team and international community was extremely supportive and welcoming. I made quite a few friends and solidified business relationships from many countries through my attendance too. As founder of Women Who WP, I was amazed and inspired by the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the women I met and the community at large. Plus, sharing delicious meals and adventures with friends in the WordPress community is always a joy. Have you heard about their after party?

I volunteer as a marketing rep on make.wordpress.org and look forward to attending Contributor Day at WCEU. Working together, across language and cultural barriers, in the common cause of WordPress at these events has enhanced my global perspective. I am grateful for every opportunity I have to work with this inclusive, supportive, international tech community. Attending WCEU furthered my ability to see the larger open source picture, which stretches beyond code and content, and taught me how I can better contribute, as well.

Emanuel Blagonic: The best experience is the WordCamp Europe itself. WordCamp Europe sparked so many new communities all over Europe and this is simply amazing. And being part of the organizing team is just a bonus as you get to work with some of the most talented people in the community – and this changes every year as new people come aboard. I can say that I learned so much being part of the team, not only professionally but personally too – as I found some very good (new) friends along the way.
Letizia Barbi: I have attended the first WCEU in 2014, almost by chance. After that experience I immediately wanted to do my best to be part of the organising team, to make this event every year more special. Being part of WCEU is a great opportunity to learn, to grow (personally and professionally) and to be close to some amazing people!
Luca Sartoni: I have been part of this project since the very beginning in Leiden in 2013. It helped me to become a better professional, a better member of the WordPress community, and overall, a better person. We have the chance to meet all the people our ecosystem impacts and we can help them to achieve their goals. It’s a great experience for sure!
Tess Coughlan-Allen: A particular experience that stood out to me was during a talk at WCEU 2017 in Paris when I realised just how much I was learning. The programme catered for everyone, it felt totally inclusive and I knew at that point I wanted to be a part of the organising team. It wasn’t just during the talks when I learned from others, though. The people I met at WordCamp Europe were thoughtful, honest and open to sharing their experiences. It’s a whirlpool of knowledge and it’s not one to miss.
Alexandru Păduraru: At first, I was a little bit reserved before participating, as our main products are not part of the WordPress space. So I told myself “OK, let’s go and see what people are doing there, maybe I can learn some new things and also can share my business knowledge”.

The overall experience turned out to be awesome. I thought most of the presentations would be “100% WordPress” but it wasn’t like that. I’ve learned a lot of new things (from doing better customer support to optimising the working flows in a business), got some great books recommendations, and met a lot of interesting people. For someone who is outside of the WordPress world, this was a great experience and I will definitely participate again in the future.

That sums up our #WCEU community roundup. After hearing these first-hand stories, we hope you’re fired up to attend the next WordCamp in your area.

And if you’re already a regular attendee, we’d love to hear about your own experience at WordCamp Europe throughout the years. Is there something memorable that you’ve been part of? If yes, please share it with us in the comments section below.

You might also be interested in our post-event reports from the last two WordCamps: WCEU 2017 and WCEU 2016. If you want even more stories, here is how the whole WCEU experience is seen through a volunteer’s eyes.

See you in Belgrade! 🤓

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