The beginning of this year marks the start of a few new cycles, and one of the most notable and yet frightening of them in Latin America is the inauguration of Brazil’s new president. As Outreachy sees a growth in the number of Brazilian candidates, providing a welcoming and inclusive professional experience in technology while offering what can be a life-changing compensation for Brazilian interns becomes an even more important duty in the face of such a violent political swift. And the more we start to talk about the May to August round, the more I think of what kind of improvements we could make to welcome Outreachy participants better.
Some plans are more of wishes that may only be fulfilled years from now, like finding ways to welcome more candidates that don’t speak English fluently as many countries outside Europe and North America have low to very low fluency in this language1, and English requirements were the most cited reason to not apply among potential applicants I spoke to. This could include, for instance, contacting local free software projects and offering internships in their mother tongue. However, such idea is more complex as it may seen, as technology is only one of the many professional fields that consider English their “official language”. and Outreachy keeps that trend in communications with interns, mentors, coordinators, sponsors, organizers and helpers. Other plans, though, are more tangible on short-term—such as asking for mentors to include technical requirements in their project descriptions to allow participants to make their contributions without the risk of focusing their time on projects that they may not be able to participate in due to limitations of their computational resources.
Changes as described in the previous paragraph necessarily include modifications to be made on Outreachy’s current system, which is based on technologies such as Django, a Python web framework, and Wagtail. a Content Management System (CMS). And as another pair of helping hands are always welcomed in those cases, I’ve resumed my web programming studies and have been giving special attention to Django as Sage encouraged me to take care of a few issues. The ones in my radar at the moment are issues #250, #253 and #264.
Lastly, as interns started their internships, a lot of fantastic blog posts started to appear. We’ve started to make compilations of some of the most interesting highlights from their writings, then publishing Outreachy Interns Talk About the Application Process. It’s absolutely incredible to follow their progress, especially as I can’t help but relate to their struggles and thoughts as I was once a person in the very same place they are now. Even though this experience can vary vastly, some themes such as impostor syndrome and the fear of failure are definitely universal—and that will be the theme of our next recap, “Everybody Struggles”.
According to the EF EPI Index of 2018 that analyzed English fluency of 88 countries.↩