Staff Spotlight: Phil Negus


Phil is Managing Director at ESLstarter. He has been involved in the ESL industry for over 10 years! Phil loves to travel in his spare time and counts Korea, Laos and the hinterlands of Scotland as his favorite travel destinations!

What position do you hold at ESL Starter? What has been your career path so far?

I am Managing Director at ESLstarter and have been working at the company since 2006. I graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2000 with a degree in Media and Cultural Studies and German before traveling to Australia and Thailand. This travel experience inspired me to try out teaching English abroad and so my wife and I travelled out to Thailand in 2003 to teach English. The experience was amazing and opened up a whole new world! We went on to teach English in South Korea and Taiwan before setting up our company.

Did YOU teach abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Yes, I taught in Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea. I had some previous travel experience of Thailand and was getting itchy feet after returning to the UK to work in an accounting position. So, I applied for a teaching placement in a small town in rural Thailand and three weeks later received the visa invitation letter in the post! It was a very exciting time! I loved teaching in Thailand - great students, a really friendly small town community and lots of exploring on weekends. After Thailand, I went onto Korea, which was amazing in many different ways. Taiwan was also a great experience and I found the people there to be super friendly.

What does the future hold for ESL Starter - any exciting new programs to share?

Well, we currently are looking to expand our South America presence and have some exciting new teaching programs in Guatamala, Brazil and Honduras in the pipeline! We want to offer teachers more choice when it comes to teaching locations and contract durations. As well as South America, we are focussing on Vietnam and China as emerging destinations for ESLstarter teachers. We are currently offering exciting placements throughout China and also in Ho Chih Minh City, Vietnam for teachers who want to tutor adults. These placements are proving incredibly popular and we are working on more opportunities for teaching adults overseas.

What about the future of the teach abroad industry? How do you think education will change over the next 10 years?

I think teach abroad programs are increasingly moving online. Video teaching is obviously an important industry but in my opinion, there is no substitute for old-fashioned face-to-face interaction between teacher and student! I think there are many new and exciting destinations available for today’s TEFL teachers and I see increasing demand from countries such as India, Brazil and Russia as these markets emerge in the future. ESLstarter will continue to source great programs for ESL teachers and provide as much support and assistance as possible in getting people where they want to be.