WordCamp Asia 2024: Most Amazing Experience Like Never Before!

Prema Anjum ○ March 23, 2024 ○ 11 minutes
WordCamp Asia 2024, WordPress

Hey there, Fluent Forms fam! I’ve got an exciting tale to share with you all about my recent adventure at WordCamp Asia 2024. I never imagined I’d have the chance to attend such an incredible event. However, my opportunity to contribute as an event organizer made me take this adventurous step, which was a worthy one of my WordCamp journeys. So, in this post, I will give you a tour of my experience at WordCamp Asia 2024.

How it all started

Meeting, WordCamp Asia 2024
The very first organizers’ meeting of WordCamp Asia 2024

A while back, I got a message from Jon Ang, the Lead Organizer of WordCamp Asia 2024, asking if I wanted to join as an Organizer. I mean, how could I say no to such an exciting opportunity? I jumped at the chance and dove headfirst into the world of event organizing.

I grabbed the opportunity and started working. Starting from the selection process of volunteers to sending people the final reminders for the program, I had a hectic work there. The journey was not so smooth, as I had to attend a full day of work, and after going back home, I attended the meetings of WordCamp Asia 2024 and finished the pending tasks and all. But I had some amazing co-workers, and leads with me, who helped a lot in the process, such name is Dreb.

The visa process

visa process WordCamp Asia 2024

Now, getting a visa to Taiwan from where I’m from isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But luckily, the WordCamp Asia 2024 team had our backs. Thanks to their efforts, the visa process was made a whole lot easier for attendees like me. No more stress about paperwork and embassy visits – Yuli Yang, and the Open Culture Foundation went above and beyond to make the visa process simple for foreign attendees. Yuli ensured 213 e-visas for the people of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and more. I’ve asked her about the visa processing journey on this WordCamp. Here’s what she shared.

“I learned about the visa difficulty for some countries. I talked to WordCamp Taiwan 2023 lead organizers and one of the attendee from Nepal who failed to obtain a visa to enter Taiwan back in October, 2023.

Why is it hard to get a visa for some people?

  • no visa-exempt or easy tourist visa method
  • chose the wrong visa method
  • no embassy located in their country, traveling to nearby country’s embassy is costly and -process takes a long time (transportation and accommodation)
  • bad communication between organizer/attendee/MOFA/embassy
  • documents are not well prepared

Why and how did we get started with eVisa?

  • learning the problem about visa is important before we find a solution (following list is based on priority)
  • everyone should be able to apply no matter country/age/role at the conference
  • no embassy visit/interview because it’s just simply not possible for some people
  • process done online, paper work is the worst and take too much time
  • a visa for attending conference because normal attendees will not be able to provide business documents
  • months prior the event date to apply visa so people won’t get anxious when the day is approaching
  • Local team did research & talked to several government department and eventually got contacted by MOEA’s Taiwan MICE Project Office
  • we learned the event is potentially qualified for international conference (ICCA certified), and we need to apply for subsidy program in order to have eVisa with flexible mechanism (if no flexible mechanism, people will have to submit more document and have interview at embassy)
  • subsidy program application opens on Nov 2023
  • subsidy program result came out on Jan 2024
  • MOFA accepts eVisa applications on Feb 2024 (even if we get subsidy program approved earlier, we still have to obey the submission date rule – one month prior to the event date)

At the end, we couldn’t convince the government to give us (e) months prior the event date to apply visa, because eVisa is easy to obtain (as long as the conference organizer have well-prepared documents) and approval time is short (giving out Ecode too early, people might forget to use it or apply too early). But at least points (a) (b) (c) (d) were fulfilled!

Problems I faced

  • Need a local representative entity to apply for subsidy – Luckily Taiwan community has built good relationship with a NGO who supports open source community and we have worked together many years for WordCamps in Taiwan.
  • Make sure the event will not be interfere by the local government (it’s against our code of conduct) – I need to learn all aspect of subsidy program.
  • Convince the WPCS to allow us to work with local entity and local government.
  • Takes too much time.
  • I have to go through applications alone and multiple times because one mistake on the application will result a denial or delay other applications, communication (phone, emails, meetings) with local entity, government and oversea embassy.
  • Responsibility beyond a volunteer – don’t forget organizers are volunteers as well
  • local lead (me) has to sign guarantee and visa letter for eVisa.
  • If anyone arrive with eVisa did anything illegal, I will be hold responsible (ex. not respecting 30 days visa policy or misbehave when staying in Taiwan)”.

The journey to Taipei

Journey, Taipei, Taiwan
The journey to Taipei, Taiwan

The journey to Taipei from Bangladesh was not so easy. As I chose China Eastern Airlines as my carrier, I had to take four flights from my hometown to Taipei.

Sylhet > Dhaka > Kunming > Shanghai > Taipei

It was about a 38 hours journey including the layovers at the Kunming, and Shanghai airports. The layover at Kunming Airport was much easier than staying at Shanghai Airport on our return time. It was like a nightmare. We couldn’t find any pod, or hotel to stay at night, while Kunming has different kinds of pods, or hotel facilities to stay in.

Connecting with fellow organizers

Organizers dinner, WordCamp Asia 2024
Organizers’ dinner at Grand Taipei Hotel

After landing in Taipei, and reaching our hotel from the airport removed all the tiredness from my face. The clean weather, beautiful roads, and architecture of Taipei just caught my eye.

After reaching the hotel, I was in a bit rush, as I had to attend my organizers; dinner as well. So, I got ready as soon as possible and ran to the venue that was in Grand Taipei Hotel for the organizers’ dinner. Finally, I met my colleagues there, with whom I had been working for the last 6 months.

After the party, I returned to the hotel with a happy, and jolly mind, and took a refreshing sleep, as I had to attend the Contributors Day program in the morning.

Contributors Day (Meet some amazing people in the WordPress community)

Contributors day, WordCamp Asia 2024
Contributors Day at WordCamp Asia 2024

The main events of WordCamp Asia 2024 were on the 7th, 8th, and 9th March 2024.

On the first day of the program, it was the Contributors Day. I arrived at TICC (Taipei International Convention Center), the venue at 8 in the morning, registered my name, collected my organizers’ swag, greeted my colleagues, and started to explore the venue.

That day, I met many popular WordPress people in the community. In the month of Women’s Day, I finally got to meet some amazing women of WordPress. I was delighted to greet people like Devin Maeztri, Michelle Frechette, Maja Loncar, and many more.

Apart from meeting people, I found the Contributors Day pretty exciting with many contributions from contributors, and table leads.

Finally, I explored the booth areas, where the preparation was going for the main days. Also, I spent some time in the registration areas by helping attendees with the information.

Welcome dinner fun

Welcome dinner, WordCamp Asia 2024
Welcome dinner, and fellow colleagues

After a hectic contributors’ day event, we had the Welcome Dinner on the same day at Super 346. We had an amazing party there. The food, the environment, the ambient, and everything was so cool there. I got a chance again to meet and chat with some fantastic people from the community, and we discussed a lot of things about the community there.

Conference Day- 1 (Greatest experience with the sponsors’ booths)

Conference day 1
Conference Day 1, and the booth experience

Conference day 1 went with the reunion with the old friends from Nepal and meeting new friends in person. I also got a chance to collect some SWAGS from the booth. I reached the venue at 9 am and went to explore the booths. I met people from Barn2 plugins, Elementor, Google, Omnisend, wedos, JetPack, StellerWP, and more there.

Oh! Let me inform you first that my tasks as an organizer on the event days were to look after the communications team, if everything was going well, and smoothly. So, I didn’t have to worry much about my job on the event days.

After visiting the booths, finally I got a chance for lunch. The food experience was not so good for me on the first day of the event. Because it was very dry for me to eat. Still, I enjoyed the different taste of food, and my tummy was somehow full.

Met Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg, Mohammad Adil Morshed
From the left: Mohammad Adil Morshed, and Matt Mullenweg

After having lunch, I decided to sit in the Information, Lost, and Found area, as many of my colleagues hadn’t had their lunch yet. I was helping people with the information, and giving some nursing service to the injured as well. By that time, I saw a man standing in front of me, and lots of people were greeting him. For a few seconds, I didn’t recognize the person, but when I realized that it was Matt, I was like, “Oh, my god, is it him? Should I capture a photo with him or not?”

After a few moments, I stood up and took one of my colleagues Candy to take a photo with Matt. And I did it.

Team dinner, and chill time

Team WPManageNinja Dinner

After a busy day, we had a team WPManageNinja dinner at Jack Brothers. The food was so delicious, and finally, I had something to eat of my type. All thanks to Shahjahan Jewel for this amazing treat.

After finishing our dinner, we also attended WooCommerce’s meetup party. We also had an amazing time there with some crunchy, and delicious french fries, and some fun games.

Conference Day- 2 (Attended Matt Mullenweg’s Q/A session)

conference day 2, wordcamp asia 2024
Conference Day 2: Sponsors area, and team photoshoot

The starting of Conference Day 2 started with a photo session with my team at Wordcamp Asia 2024. Then, I went to visit booths on the first floor. There, I visited the sponsors’ booths like GoDaddy and more.

After the lunch hour, I attended a speakers’ session. At first, I attended, Nadha’s session, and then I rushed to the Q/A session with Matt Mullenweg. One thing I would like to share, before talking about Matt’s session is that this year in WordCamp Asia 2024, out of 55 speakers, 26 were female speakers, which is around 47%. Amazing, right?

Q/A session with Matt, WordCamp Asia 2024
Q/A session with Matt

Well, in Matt’s session, I got lucky again, I got the chance to ask him a question about the female contribution in my community, that’s in Sylhet, Bangladesh, and got a chance to be a member of the Core Community and Equity team.

closing remarks, wordcamp asia 2024
Closing remarks, and organizers’ awards

After that, the closing remarks, and the place for the next WordCamp Asia 2025 were announced. We also had a photo session and received some amazing appreciation gifts from Josepha Haiden.

Celebrating at the after-party

after party
After party of WordCamp Asia 2024

And of course, who can miss the after-party? After the bustling three-day event, we all rushed to the after-party. It was located in the center of Taipei, named Maji Maji Square. From lively gatherings hosted by sponsors to impromptu outings to local bars, each moment was filled with laughter and wisdom. We took photos, danced, ate, and roam around the location, and enjoyed a lot.

Exploring Taipei City

Exploring Taipei
The beauty of Taipei

I did roam around the city a bit. From experiencing the Metro rail to walking on the night markets, it was an amazing experience to explore Taipei City.

Somehow, I got a chance to visit Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall on Contributors Day while returning to the hotel. We experienced some local desserts then, and I must say that the experience with Taipei is the class 1 for me to date.

See you in WordCamp Asia 2025

By that time, we all know that the next WordCamp Asia is going to happen in Manila, Philippines. So, hoping to meet you all there again, and will make history there too!

Prema Anjum
Prema Anjum

Hello, This is Prema. I work as a marketing strategist for Fluent Forms at WPManageNinja. When I am not playing with words, I go to explore nature.

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