During the 11 months of their training, the students have acquired technical skills and knowledge in mathematics, English and French for Front Office and Restaurant students. From 16 to 19 July, they will be assessed on all of these subjects in the final exams. Sarann, Sokun and Sophon took some time out from studying to tell us about their year:
“After a year at Sala Baï, I realise that I’ve learnt a lot. Previously, when I told my friends that I wanted to become a chef, they were surprised as they thought that I’d always be making the same thing, the same type of local cuisine. In fact, at Sala Baï, I’ve learnt to make dishes from all over the world and I’ve also learnt how to be rigorous and apply strict hygiene standards. I’m honestly a bit apprehensive about the big day because the chefs who’ll be assessing us are from outside and I want to give them a good impression of what I’m capable of and a good impression of the school!” Sarann, Cooking.
“The exams are almost upon us. I’m a bit worried as they’re very important for me. They mark the end of a year that has been a rich learning experience. The theory and practice is sometimes difficult but I’m going to give it my all. After Sala Baï, I want to come back to school to help the students and to stay in touch with the teachers. In three years, I hope to have Front Office responsibilities and be able to share my experience with the students.” Sokun, Front Office.
“Sala Baï has been an amazing experience for me as when I was younger, I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to work in luxury hotels. I’m so excited about being a Beauty Therapy student as I’m able to relieve clients’ pain and help them to feel better. The idea of the exams makes me a bit sad as I don’t want to leave Sala Baï. I feel safe here. Later, I’d like to become a spa manager and I want to carry on studying to give myself every chance of success.” Sophon, Beauty Therapy.
Soft skills also form an integral part of the training. To help students face the challenges of the training year and prepare them for their future professional lives, emphasis is place on personal development and self-confidence. These aspects are of great importance as all of the students are from very disadvantaged rural families and right from their very first internship they are dealing with Western clients. This is a huge culture shock and so students work regularly on building up their self-confidence with external coaches in order to be able to meet these challenges.
In May 2019, a new series of workshops “Leadership and Well-being” was run with the agency Possibilities World. This programme teaches students to make positive decisions and to manage stressful situations more effectively. Judging by the enjoyment the students got out of putting all that they learnt into practice and the confidence with which they did so, this first session was a resounding success.