My Visit to Houston! Grace Hopper Celebration 2016 + Swags

While I was interning at Google, I got a news about an opportunity to get sponsored by Google to attend Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing 2016 in Houston, TX. According to GHC’s website, The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Sounds exciting, right?! Google gave this opportunity to female interns and Anita Borg scholarship awardees. The interns need to apply and wrote an essay to be selected.

On a Monday morning during my internship, one day before the supposed announcement, a Google Calendar event popped. It was from my intern program managers, the subject was “Quick intern chat”. I freaked out since I have no idea, it was after the midterm. so I thought it might be bad since no other interns got invited. But turns out they wanted to tell me that I got the sponsorship!! 😀

I was so excited since it was my first time visiting US! The visa needed to be applied in person to the embassy, so I have no choice other than waiting for my internship in Sydney to finish and come back to Indonesia. The event was on 18 October and I return to Indonesia on 23rd September, it was a tight deadline and therefore I needed to hurry. In the end I got my visa in only 2 days.

Day 0

The flight was 7h35m for CGK – NRT plus 12h5m for NRT – IAH. It was my first time visiting Tokyo too, I was astonished with the airport toilet that the flight attendances looked for me, they were worried that I’d miss the connecting flight. I also met another interns and employee from Google Tokyo too there 😀

I initiated to organize the SuperShuttle shuttle bus for 10 people from the airport to the hotel. So, the interns were placed in Westin Galleria while the scholarship awardees were placed in Omni Hotel. My roommate is Amy, she’s really awesome and nice! She is on her 3rd year and interned at Google Taiwan. I just knew that Google Taiwan has an engineering office too *_*

What did we do… Credits: Amy

On the evening, me and some friends from the shuttle bus went to the Cheesecake Factory at The Galleria. I’ve never been tipping, so I asked them how to tip. They were shocked, “you organized the shuttle but you’ve never been to here before?” 😛 Then I learned how to tip! I was surprised with how much we ‘need’ to give for the tip… In my defense Indonesia doesn’t have that kind of  big tipping culture 😛

Day 1

To start the morning, me and Amy went to the Daily Grill at The Galleria (they said it’s the breakfast place). It was fancy af and not a complementary breakfast from the hotel, so we need to pay. Google reimbursed us, so that wasn’t a big problem~ While waiting for the shuttle bus to the GHC venue, we met Penporn, she’s ultra cool! She’s a PhD student who interned at Google Mountain View.

The event started with keynotes. We were a little bit late, but the keynotes were awesome. Look at the speakers!

I signed up for an event called “Think Like a Palantir Engineer Workshop” hosted by Palantir. The event was about a team problem-solving. I felt a little bit left out since everyone in my team knew each other and they kept talking about internal stuff, but that’s OK. Palantir gave us Uber ride vouchers, so it was convenient. Let’s go to the Expo!

The expo was attended by 310 exhibitors. It’s a massive amount of booths! Imagine you being in a booth for about 10mins, 3 days won’t be enough. I skipped most of the school booths since I don’t have any plan to continue my study after I graduate.

People are encouraged to bring resumes and apply on the booths. I don’t know whether there’s any printing service there (LOL) so I brought about 250 resumes! One booth attendant actually said “you’re so prepared!” I’m 1% embarrassed but hey, better than nothing, right? 🙁 The job-searching felt like betrayal since I was sponsored by Google, applied for the full time conversion and yet I applied here and there :<

Other than leaving resumes, I also didn’t forget to take the swags 😛 There are a lot of swaagggggs and some of them even hand it only if you leave your resume, like Palantir.

Rackspace’s TMNT lady in tutu!

Day 2

This time, me and Amy went to the foodcourt for breakfast. I found my new love… Chick-fil-A. Nice salad. For the next 2 days, I eat their salad with chilli lime vinaigrette dressing everyday. The US’ fast food price is knocking out the restaurants @_@ The 2nd day is quite the same, this time other than leaving resumes and hunting swags, I tried the massage sponsored by MongoDB. LOL it’s so weird to write “massage sponsored by MongoDB” here :’) The masseuse lady is really great and she told me to come again tomorrow. (spoiler: I couldn’t get it the next day. It was extremely crowded, long queue). It relaxed me a lot since my backpack contained that hundreds of resume + swags.

There was a Google Intern Party in the night at Minute Maid Park with nice food.  We painted cloth, but I was in hurry in the end because the venue was about to be closed.

Notice the oogle, made in hurry

Day 3

At this point, I accepted the fact that I can’t visit all of the booths. 🙁 I got 2 on-site interviews with MasterCard and Schlumberger, which both I didn’t get the offer. That day I learned that Schlumberger is spelled “Schlumberzee” instead of “Schlum burger”. I bought salad at the venue for lunch, and the cashier asked me, “Just salad? That’s too healthy! I’ll wait for you here to see you buy junk food”. I didn’t. 😛

Instead of the usual 6PM, the venue was closed in 4PM because it was the last day. The booths seemed to rush everyone to take their swags, and I got like, double the amount of swags from the previous days @_@

After that, we went to the closing keynote. There was a DJ who performed on the first day too, and he played the same thing. Same exact thing, with the videos and stuff 😐 There was a party too in the night, but there was no proper dinner there. The venue was really dark and there were glow sticks everywhere. It was cool but it made me sick, so I decided to return to the hotel. Since I’m leaving the next morning, it’s time to organize everything… I destroyed my leftover resumes (wow, sounds hardcore) by soaking them, and I needed to pack my luggage.

See you, Amy! See you, Houston! See you, GHC! GHC brought me so many opportunities (and swags). I really enjoyed it even though I couldn’t attend the techtalks because they were always full TT_TT. I didn’t manage to explore Houston too. But I’m so glad to meet awesome people. Overall, it was a great experience! Many thanks for Google for sponsoring me, and hopefully I could visit GHC again next year!

Derpy derp, I forgot to take photo of me!

I really recommend you (especially girls) to attend GHC! It might be costly (considering the fees, flight, and accommodation), but there are a lot of scholarships and sponsorship that you can check. 😀 Good luck!


And now…


I got too many swags that it broke my luggage handle, LOL. I even need to leave some swags.

Too messy…


From redhat and SurveyMonkey! I bet you can guess which one is which one 😛

Actually Google’s is cute too (the middle right at the swag photo above) and they seemed to have almost unlimited stock of them. @_@ I also like the one from Square, it’s super cute and versatile.

Booth (+ Stickers too)

I personally think has cute stickers! Took plenty of them (eheh. Sorry and thanks) The luggage tag is cute too, it was made from like circuit board. Since they invited me for the on-site interview this January, they even sent me moar cute stickers :-3

Coolest T-shirt

I like it because of the quote. I should say all the clothes given are comfy! Not just T-shirts, I got 2 tank-tops too @_@

I feel like I got too many t-shirts these days, that I wear t-shirts everyday to school. Unlimited stock for weeks. It happens too for all the CS students I guess, especially the ones who had internships or often attend events 😛


I got (quite a lot) interview opportunities, but I got many rejections too. Most of them are because of the US visa sponsorship issue. I also did several coding challenges, one even got me to on-site interview (Expedia in Bellevue, WA), but… they just realized that I need sponsorship and decided to not continue (why did they realize that straight before the on-site? 🙁 ) Also, another one ended up with me not being able to do the phone interview with Dropbox.

I also did several phone interviews which most of them ended up miserably (aka no offer). I also did the Google additional interview in-between the interviews, so they kinda burned me out. I used to be so nervous about interviews, like I mentioned in my previous blog post. Strangely, after the Google interview, I didn’t worry the interviews at all and became YOLO. I didn’t study hard anymore. I now see the interviews as challenges instead of a stressful job-searching process. That wasn’t because I got the offer, but I just don’t know why. It’s better this way, to not worry too much. 😀