This article is sponsored by AXA, a multinational insurance firm.
Will Moore is the first winner of the Great Global Adventure by AXA, a competition that offers a world-first prize – an all-expenses paid travelling experience, that includes two top internships with international AXA teams, a volunteering opportunity, and the chance to tick off his bucket list. Has he been making the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity? We caught up with Will about his adventure so far to find out.
My last three months have been incredible. I’ve travelled through China, completed my first internship in the AXA Investment Manager’s Hong Kong office, and crossed all the way from Beijing to St. Petersburg on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Pandas to pagodas and an internship invested in me:
Visiting China was a great experience and I really enjoyed learning about its rich history and culture. Some of my highlights were: camping on the Great Wall of China in Beijing, seeing Giant Pandas in Chengdu, visiting the Shaolin Temple the birthplace of Kung Fu and viewing “the eighth wonder of the world”, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an.
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Tucked away behind tower blocks lies the peaceful Wong Tai Sin Temple's Good Wish Garden, a miniature replica of the famous Summer Palace in Beijing. Exploring these peaceful gardens was like stepping back in time. ⛩🐢 #goodwishgarden #wongtaisin #temple #garden #turtle #nature #summerpalace #kowloon #contrast #history #culture #hongkong #hkig #axaadventure
Back in Hong Kong, I began my five week internship in the Sales and Marketing team of AXA Investment Managers. The warmth of the welcome, professionalism and great open atmosphere in the office really enriched my internship. I was grateful for the opportunity to work with different teams, to challenge and develop myself and I now have a broad overview of the multifaceted nature of the business. It was a team atmosphere that encouraged an inquisitive mind and everyone gave their guidance and time to help my development.
Crossing continents on the Trans-Siberian Railway:
The Trans-Siberian Railway was an epic journey. I travelled 9,000km through three different countries and got to explore remote villages and vibrant cities. When I reached Mongolia the -35 degree cold was bone chilling. A highlight was living in a Mongolian Ger Camp, which was surrounded by majestic snow covered mountains and the bluest sky I’ve ever seen.
After Mongolia I travelled on to Russia. I spoke Russian the whole time I was there and it was a real joy to use the language again. I visited the beautiful Lake Baikal and tried out some Siberian husky sledding in Irkutsk. It took three and a half days to finally reach Moscow from Irkutsk and the views from the train were beautiful and always varied. I was grateful for the warm welcome that I received from the Russians I met and I look forward to exploring the country again in the future.
The benefits of being bilingual
I’ve used Russian as often as possible. For instance, when drinking traditional milk tea with a Mongolian nomad called Namjilmaa in her Ger Camp, it was the common language between us to get to know each other. I also became friends with young Russian soldiers on the train and we swapped our flip flops as a token of our friendship.
I would always recommend making an effort to speak the language of the country you’re in. Even if it’s just basic phrases such as “hello” and “thank you”, if you have the confidence to be a communicator you will find that it will break down boundaries and bring you great rewards. Even if it’s completely wrong, the effort will not go unnoticed. It’s worth it for the smile!
What’s next for me?
I’m kicking off 2016 with my charity project in Jakarta, working with Junior Achievement to teach local students about finance and entrepreneurship. Then I’m off to Bali, Australia, New Zealand and South America. My year of adventure will be wrapped up in San Francisco, after I’ve completed the second of my internships with AXA Lab.
Keep updated with Will’s Great Global Adventure by AXA on Instagram, and on DiscoverAXA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Where would your Great Global Adventure take you? Pre-register for the competition at www.greatglobaladventure.com and be the first to play for the adventure of a lifetime.