The DNS Program

Written by Terry

During our study weekend in November we learned more about the DNS program and what we’ll be doing – which we ourselves had to research, work together and present. So I’m going to write an article summarising what I learnt (More like trying to recall what was presented. What kind of potential teacher doesn’t take notes?), for those who are curious and wanting to know about what this program entails exactly.

Economy

I’ve touched upon this before in a previous post, but nevertheless I’ll mention it again as it’s an important core of the DNS program. Our team has our own economy separate from the school’s. Save for our monthly 300dkk pocket money, the money we earn from our saving up period is put into the team economy and is shared amongst us evenly through monthly budgets. We have different monthly budgets that covers our transport, food, accommodation etc, as well as the program itself. For instance, next year, some of the money we earn will go towards purchasing buses for our trip to Africa. We have, so far, two economists on our team – Mykolas J who keeps track of our income and Aušrinė who keeps a record of our expenses; we have to make sure to keep any receipts and produce them to Aušrinė. The economy will remain like this for the duration of the next four years.

Saving up

This is the period that I’m currently in and will end in September 2015 when we start preparing our trip to Africa. We have saving up periods for a few months every year and as the name suggests, it’s a period of time where we find a job, work and earn money for our team economy. Where we work and what we do is up to us, and it doesn’t matter if we all don’t earn the same amount as together we are responsible for collecting the funds and spending it in accordance with the programme; we all have the same budgets. Those who are regular readers of my blog posts may know that I am currently working at a school in order to earn money for my team.

Africa Preparations

Starting from September 2015, our preparations for the trip to Africa will be underway. It’s during this time that we’ll be: planning an itinerary, studying African cultures and traditions and the continent itself, looking into what we want to investigate whilst we are there and how we want to bring it to the public, learning Portuguese, purchasing buses, converting them into “homes” and learning how to repair them, and getting our visas and vaccinations. A lot of these preparations we can do prior to date we start, such as learning Portuguese for example. After two months of preparations, we’ll then be heading to Africa.

Fighting With the Poor

When people usually think of somebody that is poor, they probably imagine somebody that is impoverished, homeless and without a penny to their name; somebody that struggles to survive by begging or they may think of those African children suffering on the TV adverts. Of course, it’s certainly correct to say that such people are poor, but we debated whether uneducated people are also poor and whether those with mental disabilities are poor. One definition of the word poor describes a pitiable person – someone that deserves our pity and perhaps help. During the presentation, I think we all had mixed feelings on what makes somebody poor. In any case, we need to be empathetic with those we deem poor in order to fight with them to make changes/improvements in their lives and their communities.

Bringing “It” to the Public

This is what I had to present to the team along with Honza and Amy, and it was a struggle to find out what “IT” exactly is, as the different students we asked from other teams had different ideas on what “IT” is. Some answered that it is the “experience and the ideas” and one vaguely answered that it is the “problems”. After much thinking and debating, we concluded that whatever “IT” is, it should be something that we find appropriate and important to share with anybody that we can reach out to. Whatever message we want to bring to the public is something we’ll (hopefully) agree on before we start our investigations in Africa. Hopefully, we’ll present a different angle about Africa – something that’s new and unknown to the mass public; perhaps we’ll uncover important information that is otherwise being buried under an abundance of donation adverts. I hope we’ll do something mind blowing, eye opening, thought provoking and informative enough that we can raise consciousness and convince people to be more compassionate towards their fellow human beings.

European Field of Practice

During our second year, we’ll choose and agree (a tedious and difficult task to carry out so I hear) upon a destination in Europe to live, work and study for 6 months. We’ll be trying to balance a life of cultural understanding, work, studies and engaging with local people and carrying out investigations – much like what our trip to Africa will entail I guess. Although this time, obviously, we’ll be learning about and understanding society in Europe and the problems people here face.

Studies

Throughout the DNS program, the majority of our time will be spent studying of course! There are many topics that the DNS program covers and some of the ones I recall (perhaps I’ll edit it in due time to put down a full list. I really should take notes!) are: global politics, art, philosophy, history, languages, natural sciences and pedagogy. There’ll be exams throughout the years too. Also there is a point system in which we get points for every essay we write, for every presentation we do, investigations we carry out etc, and we need to accumulate these points and get a certain amount (I think 5400?), before we pass and earn our bachelor degree.

So that’s about the gist of this program. Our presentations were more thorough, but this was just to give the curious reader a summary. Soon, hopefully, I’ll be able to add our 10 second videos that introduce each key area.

If this article piques your interest and you want to find out more, then visit the DNS website. We’re still wanting people to join our 2015 team in September by the way, so if this is something that you may want to be apart of and experience, then get in touch and attend a prep weekend. Or feel free to drop by and say hi!

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