Description of the project

An efterskole is a unique Danish residential school, where students from the ages of 14 to 18 can choose to spend one, two or three years to finish their primary education.

Each efterskole is a self-governing, independent institution and it deals with both the educational and personal development of the students. The efterskole embraces a common educational focus on enlightenment for life, general education and democratic citizenship.

An efterskole is not a boarding school with school uniforms, but rather a residential school where students have time to develop new skills according to their interests.

Compared to public schools the efterskole has substantial freedom in terms of choice of subjects, teaching methods and educational approach. These vary in accordance with the school’s political, religious or pedagogical orientation.

Efterskoler vary in size but most have approximately 100 to 120 students.

Main activities

Most efterskoler offer the same subjects and final examinations as the public schools, but many focus on special subjects like physical education, international cooperation, music, theatre, or various kinds of special education.

Both students and most staff live at the efterskole. Many students are also at the school during the weekend, but they have the option of going home to their families if they want.
It is also the duty of the teachers and staff to supervise the students during the afternoon and evenings. These evening duties will also be a part of your tasks. This could be saying goodnight to the students and turning off the lights.

As some students also spend the weekend at the school, there may also be weekend duties for you. These activities will be more casual leisure activities.
You will work an average of 37 hours a week, though some weeks may be more and some may be less.

Volunteer tasks

As a volunteer, you will be supporting the teachers in the classrooms. You may have the chance to teach classes on your own if you have special skills and competences. This could be in sport activities or music activities. You should be aware that supporting the class while the teacher leads the lesson will be your main task alongside supervising.

Good English skills are necessary to communicate with students and teachers to benefit the lessons.
English, Spanish, French and German skills can be very relevant to many efterskoler, as these languages may be taught at the school.

Volunteer requirements/skills

To work in a Danish efterskole it is important that the volunteer:

  • Is independent – take initiative and show interest in the students
  • Enjoys working with teenagers
  • Enjoys spending time with teenagers
  • Is creative in the approach to the workIs flexible, as you may be asked to participate in different classes and leisure activities during the day, the evening, and the weekends
  • Would like to live in a rural area or small town, as most of the projects are situated in such.

Volunteer accommodation at the efterskole.
It is not possible to live with a host family when volunteering at an efterskole.

This project description is in relation to the ICYE-programme. If you are interested in the European programme, the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), please see here.

This project at a glance

Age requirement


Danish (or English) skills required


Work with young children (aged 3-6)


Work with older children (aged 6-12)


Work with teenagers (aged 12-18)


Working outdoors

Sameer, Nepal, volunteer 2018
Sarah-Kate, USA, volunteer 2018

What is an efterskole? Part 1

What is an efterskole? Part 2

Catherine explains efterskole in English

Chen Yuan Yi explains efterskole in Chinese

Melissa explains efterskole in Spanish

Life in an Efterskole