Natalie Chin is from Malaysia and came to Teesside to study BA (Hons) Computer Character Animation. We catch up with Natalie one year since her graduation in July 2017
You graduated from Teesside one year ago, how has your life changed since graduating?
Since graduating from Teesside, I returned to my home country, Malaysia, to take a break and to look for work in my chosen field. On January 2018, I started working at an animation studio based in the city.
What job are you doing now?
I’m currently working as a Junior 3D Animator at Anima Point in Malaysia. Our studio works on TV series and occasionally feature films. The studio is relatively small compared to big names like Double Negative and ILM so I was able to start animating some shots within the first few weeks of working.
What were your goals before studying at Teesside?
I had big dreams to head to the USA to work for places like Disney or Pixar, as do a lot of animators. If not, I wanted to work on feature films or TV series that would garner international recognition.
Did your course help you get your current job?
I’d say the skills I’ve learned during my time at Teesside have definitely helped me in getting my job. During my 2nd year in Teesside, I received some really good feedback from lecturers which helped push the quality of my work. In 3rd year, I was able to focus on animation for my Final Year Project and that really took my understanding of what I do to another level.
ExpoTalent and ExpoTees also helped me get a better grasp on how to communicate with potential clients or employers about my projects and ideas. I also won an award for each Expo event so that might’ve helped a little as well.
Did you take advantage of other services on offer at Teesside University?
Other than academia, I took advantage of the gym and sports health clinics during my time at Teesside. My wellbeing is as important as completing assignments, so I wanted to focus on my health and fitness as well.
I also used the Library services, something I didn’t think I would need as an animation student but the library is equipped with an extensive list of learning materials, which I could use for research for my Final Year Project.
Is there anything you wish you had taken advantage of while you were studying at Teesside but didn’t?
I wish I could’ve used the Motion Capture lab more but I didn’t have any projects which required it.
Is there anything you wish you had taken advantage of while you were in the UK but didn’t?
I wish I had taken up an internship in the UK during the summer of 2016 but alas, I was needed back home. It would’ve been nice to get some experience working in British studios to see the difference between the UK work culture and the Malaysian work culture.
The skills I’ve learned during my time at Teesside have definitely helped me in getting my job. During my 2nd year in Teesside, I received some really good feedback from lecturers which helped push the quality of my work. In 3rd year, I was able to focus on animation for my Final Year Project and that really took my understanding of what I do to another level.
What do you miss the most about your life at Teesside?
Parmo, definitely parmo and maybe kebabs too but mostly parmo! I kind of miss the weather sometimes especially when it gets too hot and humid here in Malaysia. I also miss the efficient train travel from Middlesbrough to other parts of the UK.
Have you stayed in contact with the friends you made at Teesside?
Yes, I’m in contact with a few of them still. We chat online once in a while when we’re free since we’re all working adults now.
Do you have any tips for other international students on making the most out of their time at Teesside University?
Go out and travel! There are new places to explore, new sights to see. Try new things and make some good friends along the way. If you get homesick, find some friends from your home country if you can because they will be your support system during your time in an unfamiliar land.
Spend your time wisely. There is freedom here because we’re all considered adults and are expected to plan and finish our work on our own time. It’s good practice for your career because schedules get a lot tighter once you start working and everyone is responsible for their own tasks.
Describe any experiences which studying in the UK and at Teesside University have helped you in achieving your goals.
I’d say the Expo events really helped bridge the connection between students and industry professionals. It gave us a chance to network with those in the industry to get their insight and advice. Some of us also managed to get critiques for our work. Through ExpoTees I also met the lead animator of Studio Gobo who invited me down to Hove for a studio tour. It was a really good experience as I got to meet some of the people who work there and to see what working in the games industry is like as well.
Have your goals changed since graduating and beginning your career?
My goals are more or less the same as before, except now I am more comfortable with staying in Malaysia because there’s so much potential and opportunity here that people don’t realise. If there is a chance for me to work overseas, then I’ll go when the time is right.
Where can you see yourself in one year from now?
I still see myself working in the same industry and probably the same company, doing something that I’m passionate about and would never get bored of.