5 Signs You Should Never Have a Talk Abroad

I find PHP meetups abroad more and more valuable to my programming life. They're the best place to diverse my skills and knowledge without eating dump and self-proclaiming Twitter feeds.

Wait, don't rush to your train ticket so fast to enjoy the presence of great developers, interesting topic, surprisingly open-minded people and tasty beer afterward.

I'm about to tell you why you should not do it.

1. You're not Famous Enough to be Accepted

I'm sorry, but you were not born lucky enough to be Linus Torvalds, Rasmus Lerdorf, Fabien Potencier or Marco Pivetta. You'd have to work hard on yourself, have at least 1000 followers, 3 popular open-source packages and own website with real PHP blog posts.

From my experience, if you response to Call for Papers to one of the PHP conferences there are free 10 times fewer talk slots than talk suggestions.



Selection of my rejections

Only a madman would not give up this, right?

How wrong was I thinking this? Meetups and conferences are a completely different field. Meetups are held almost every month and I can tell you, every organizer is super happy for an active speaker who writes him with a talk proposal. And an active speaker from abroad? Shut-up up and take my money!

What do you need to do? Go to a meetup.com event detail, ask in comments to have a talk with this title, 2-3 sentences what it's about and length in minutes. It usually didn't take longer than 2 days before I got you're accepted email.

Some groups make this experience even more exceptional, like:


Berlin PHP User Group is fully open-sourced on Github, so all you need to do send PR

Vienna PHP provides simple form, also on homepage → click & send it

2. You're too Shy to Talk

People living abroad are much more skilled, have high standards and are very critique. Just imagine you'd confuse sort with asort - you're dead.

I'm not sure if that's the Czech Republic or home-country effect, but I find programmers in other countries more curious, with questions, own ideas, and own experiments. Instead of saying how your idea is bad or why they propose situations when it could go wrong and want to hear arguments from you. Also, they're not so focused on nitpicking, but rather they try to understand the main idea of your talk.

And as for mistakes? I think going abroad is the best to battle-test anything. When people go on holidays, they're naturally more open to people, because they know they'll never see them again (unless you go 10 years to the same destination over and over again).

Are you shy? Don't have a talk in your hometown where everyone knows you, but go somewhere new where nobody knows you.

3. You're not very Good at English Tongue

Abroad, there are only native English speakers and they will always correct your mistakes, typos and non-precise wording. Why do you think English programmers go to meetup anyway?

This could not be far from the truth. In my experience, I've been meeting roughly 10 % of native English speakers. Instead, they're from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia, Netherlands, Belgium or Poland. Imagine having all these nationalities together, in one room, almost all of them having English as seconds language (in the best case scenario).

In such a group being too good in English would actually hurt you. The most common vocabulary that everyone understands the most wins. After all, 1000 words are all you need.

4. You don't have Money for Traveling and AirBnb

Let's admit it, traveling abroad is not cheap. A return ticket from Prague to Berlin can cost over 50 €! And the AirBnb once more the same amount. And who of our programmers with poor pays can afford that?

If there only would be organizer you ask for accommodation or one of the other speakers or a friend. But that would be pure hope, no chance.

All you need to do is check the meetup and write to the organizer and the speakers. Why? Because these people are usually the most opened one. Thanks, Martin Hlaváč for an awesome stay that helped me for this tip.

5. It's Very Hard to Find these Meetups

You can go to meetup.com and search for PHP. But meetup.com is designed for all meetups, not just PHP, so there are many boiler place features you don't need and nice map around your location is missing. Despite that, not all groups are there, they' use GitHub Page, Facebook, Twitter or own calendar.


Search on meetup.com is not really friendly

The second option is to go to php.ug and try to find meetups around you. This project is much better than meetup.com because it's open-sourced and community can fix it, but it's not very active for the last 2 years.


Current Meetup coverage at php.ug

Make no mistake, Andreas Heigl is doing a great job with php.ug, with Slack promotion and so on. I talked with him about this project, because I really missed a place where people could see meetups around them that would just work. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thank you, Andreas, for inspiration, working API on php.ug and super fast bugfixes under 60 minutes from reporting. Be sure to check his blog - I love his kind and wise style of sharing his experience.

Find Your Next Meetup on FriendsOfPHP.org

Today, this one last reason Not to have a talk abroad became history.

I Steal like an Artist from many projects:

to put down a simple page with meetups in Europe:

It's a fresh MVP (not model-view-presenter but minimum viable product) from last week, but you know that they say - release early, release often. You can find it on Github (obviously), try it, run it locally without any database thanks to YAML and Statie.


The mission of friendsofphp.org page is simple:

Help programmers to share their ideas and travel as easy as possible


So get up, forget all the reasons in your head stopping you from going to your first meetup aboard and enjoy it!

That's all the life about :)


Typo? Fix it, please  and join 49 people who build this website