January Newsletter: What we are learning at SYB is more than baking

How times flies! The 10th batch of students is already following its intensive training for one semester. SYB is based on a training alternating practical classes in French Bakery and Pastry and internship in Shanghai five Stars Hotels. But SYB training also includes English and Life skills classes as well as professional training, outings or volunteering activities.
Shanghai Young Bakers is specifically designed to bring to students a comprehensive development that will help them at work as in their personal life. China Normal East University Professor Xiaowen Li and her students Jing Wang, Liwei Cao, Yukun Tang, Piao Zhang are supporting SYB for the second year now by developing a specific life skills curriculum for our students.Interning at SYB as communication manager, I was curious to ask students what they think about their training at SYB and more specifically what the life skills’ value is according to them. I interviewed students face to face and here are some of their feedback.


Most students came to Shanghai for the first time so the first thing they have to learn is how to live in such a big city.


‘Teachers told us how to take the metro and how to use the shared bike.’


‘In Shanghai, you not only talk to the locals and people from other provinces, you also have to talk to foreigners. So it is important to learn English’.

I realized that during  interview, the most frequent words students mentioned were  ‘communication skill’, ‘independence’ and ‘comprehensive development’. 

Students have class focusing on communication and it is also asked to one student to share a piece of news and a poem before class to encourage them to speak in front of public.


‘I have made improvement on communication. I used to refuse to talk to others proactively’


‘I don’t like to talk but it’s much better now. It is partly because of Life Skills classes  which teaches us how to communicate with people and the way of communication.’

One student told me the time spent with classmates also makes her more cheerful. Even when everyone is busy with baking his/her own products, as long as she is in the team, she feels happy.
‘Communication and independence are my biggest harvest.’ 

Leaving their families, students have to clean their dorms, wash their clothes by themselves and learn to manage their time and money.

‘I used to be half-independent when I was at home because my parents would take care of me. But now even though my parents still care for me, I have to learn to solve problems by myself. Because if you don’t solve it now, it will come back to you later.’ 

‘Everyone will help to tidy up the dorm. Now I have a regular life and standard. It does good to me.’


Within 6 months students really realized that is was not that easy to be responsible and they have learned a lot on how to take their own responsibilities.

Besides teaching students to manage themselves, Life Skills classes also provide students a chance to develop new interests and broader their views. 

‘Such as the debate today, it helps us to broaden our thinking. We also have classes teaching us to use money wisely. Last time there was a class about finance and economy and I think it is very interesting.’


‘I am interested in psychology and I will learn more about it after class. I like this class. Learning this helps me to be more matured and I would act more like an adult.’

Students really enjoy each Life Skills class and they always look forward for the next one. At the end of the interview, when I asked if they would choose to join SYB again, they said 

‘Yes! And I have never regretted for my choice.’


‘This program helps me a lot and this is really a good chance for me. I am deeply touched . I am so lucky to be here.’


I have been really impressed to observe  how our students have grown up so much in one semester. They will go back home soon for a deserved break at home. They will then come back to start the second and last semester before to start their professional life. I hope each of them have a bright future!



Communication Coordinator


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