We held our first Google Summer of Code meetup at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (Colombo, Sri Lanka) on the 4th of March 2013. The event was organized with a great support from the Department of Computing. Approximately 150 young enthusiasts took part in the event. 


The first speaker was Keshan Sodimana, who is the Manager of Google Developer Group, Sri Lanka. Keshan delivered an excellent presentation on the value of Open source software for the world. 

I took the stage next to present students with an overview of the Google Summer of Code program.  I also focussed on general open source fundamentals from communication within open source communities to proper email/IRC etiquette and open source culture. 


The final speaker was Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne, a mentor and past GSoC student for OpenMRS. Suranga discussed general information about Google Summer of Code such as important dates for the program, how to apply, guidelines on how to write project proposals, and how to come up with the most suitable project per student. 

The program was concluded with a session on related technologies. This included an OpenMRS demonstration as well as other related tools which would help students to come to grips with GSoC 2013.

The students were very excited about the program, and asked many questions both publicly and individually after the session ended. We tried to clear up doubts they had about their own abilities, and encouraged them to participate. 

We also pointed out the benefits of working on real-life projects, as opposed to the mock projects that they work on in university. We also explained the value of building connections all around the world, and the spiritual happiness open source projects brings in general. Those of us who had participated as students with Google Summer of Code shared our experiences on why it was important to continue with a project after GSoC was over, and what benefits it could bring you.

Good luck for all the hopefuls applying for Google Summer of Code this year. May the most determined win!

By. Harsha Siriwardena, former Google Summer of Code student for OpenMRS 2012, Google Code-In mentor for the Fedora Project 2012 and Organizer of Google Developer Group Sri Lanka.