Chun You's story
For most students, going to university for the first time is challenging in many ways, particularly when it comes to being away from friends and family for prolonged periods of time. For Chun You, Sim - a first year student on the BA (Hons) Computer Visualisation & Animation course - the transition has been more extreme than for most. He’s come all the way from Singapore to study at BU.
He laughs and jokes about the weather in the UK, asking when temperatures are likely to hit double digits - despite being told he’s probably got at least a month to go until the weather warms up properly, he still smiles and comments that this winter was the first time he’d ever seen snow, so it’s not all bad.
When asked what his biggest achievement is so far in his time at BU, he doesn’t hesitate: “In my case it’s just being here, because I’m an international student and I came from Singapore,” he explains. “It’s one of the first times that I’ve been away from my family for a very long period of time. Through my experiences at BU I’ve learned how to take care of myself, as well as how to adapt to different cultures and lifestyles, so I guess that’s a big accomplishment.”
Chun You won’t go back to Singapore until the summer holidays, but he’s happy to have the chance to explore the UK and he enjoys living in Bournemouth. “I like how it’s quieter than most of the other urban cities. It’s quite peaceful and the people over here are really friendly,” he says with a grin.
When asked what drew him so far from home, he explains the UK’s reputation within the visual effects industry and BU’s excellent course were the main reasons why he chose to travel so far for his education.
“The UK is one of the leading countries in VFX and animation, so I’m hoping that by enrolling on this course I’ll be taught the necessary skills, as well as being given the best opportunities, to graduate and find a job,” he states.
One of the things he’s enjoying most about his time at BU is the university’s links with the VFX and animation industry. “On my course, almost every single week we have people from within the industry giving talks to us. They tell us more about the opportunities that exist in the industry for us after we graduate, and highlight the skills we’ll need.”
He’s particularly looking forward to how these connections can benefit him and his fellow students as they progress with their degree: “From what I’ve heard, during the final year they[industry leaders] will even assign us work and tasks to do. They’ll monitor our progress and if they see potential in our work, they may even hire us,” he says with excitement.
It’s clear that Chun You has a real passion for visual effects and animation - an interest he says he’s had from a very young age. Like most boys growing up, he enjoyed movies and computer games, but unlike most children, Chun You had such a fascination with what goes on behind the scenes that he started trying to work it out for himself.
He laughs as he recounts using programmes such as Powerpoint and Paint to try and develop his skills, albeit at a very basic level. “As I learned more and more about the industry, I found that this is what I’m interested in and that’s why I came here to study computer animation,” he says.
Even though he’s only in the first year of his course, Chun You already has a clear idea of what aspect of the VFX and animation sector he wants to focus on, explaining that he’s more interested in the technical side of the process than the artistic elements.
“I’m particularly interested in the lighting and effects department of the visual effects industry. The effects department involves creating simulations of certain physical systems, like fluids or rigid bodies, whereas lighting involves how the scene is being viewed by the public. Once the animation is created, likewise in the real world, the scene would be completely dark unless light is added to it, and it’s this sort of thing that I’d like to explore more,” he enthuses.
Chun You also acknowledges that he’s been inspired by the past successes of BU students and graduates who include Oscar winners among them. He reels off recent films - Gravity, Interstellar, Avatar and the Harry Potter series - that BU alumni have been involved with, adding: “All of these are my inspiration and my motivation in doing this course at this university.”