I had never really thought about teaching overseas, even though I love to travel. The idea of teaching English somewhere didn’t appeal to me. And I wasn’t sure how my credentials in the states would match up to credentials internationally. Then I saw an article from USA Today, touting the massive benefits that American teachers abroad evidently receive—lower class sizes, better schedules, free housing, living stipends, and other day-to-day benefits. Not all international schools pay higher salaries necessarily, though some do. For us travel fiends, this sounds like a dream.

So how do you get started? There’s a few details that you don’t want to miss. Read on to learn how you can teach at an international school.

What is an international school?

When international schools first started popping up about sixty years ago, they were mainly formed in capitol cities to help families working in foreign affairs or business. Now, these schools are populated by a variety of expat families that are looking for an American-style or English-based private education. There are a few stipulations that some agencies list for a school to be truly international, such as English as the main language or that the curriculum is different than that of the host country. According to ISC Research, an organization that has been collecting data and research about international schools for the past 25 years, there are currently 10,282 English-medium international schools.

How do I apply?

There are a number of agencies that recruit educators for overseas positions, as well as websites and forums with loads of advice, like The International Educator or International Schools Review. One agency, TIC Recruitment, out of the United Kingdom, starts with simply registering on their website and submitting your resume. From there, you make a profile and submit passport information and teaching qualifications. Other websites, like Teach Away, provide job postings for all types of teaching positions, ranging from teaching English overseas, licensed teaching positions, or even teaching English online. Other popular agencies include International School Services, Search Associates, Point to Point, Footprints Recruiting, and Worldteachers.

When should I start applying?

According to an article in Verge Magazine, you should start looking at agencies and registering a year before you want to move abroad. Much of the recruiting for overseas teaching jobs is done at the start of the year, with job fairs being held in January and February. That means that by the fall, you should have a ready-to-send resume, letters of recommendation and the like, all filed with an agency so that you can get a spot at the many recruitment fairs, which are often by invitation only. These fairs take place in major US cities, such as Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco, depending on the agency. The University of Northern Iowa also has a large overseas recruiting fair each year, with one coming in January.

What happens at the fairs?

Some agencies allow you to do Skype interviews, but most set you up with interviews at the job fairs. You’ll have to pay your own way there, but you’ll get to interview with a handful of different international schools. Keep an open mind when it comes to placement and location, and then network, network, network.

I got accepted! Now what?

Living and teaching overseas will come with a shock, but luckily, you’ll have a built-in community from the start. Plus, you’ll learn so much more than just how to work in a new classroom and at different school. Check out Teaching Abroad: 10 Things You Don’t Know (But Should) for more helpful tips!

Is it your goal to teach at an international school? Come and share your job hunt challenges and successes in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, 20 ideas for a travel-themed classroom.