Rule No. 1: Never try to smooth your child's way into a school with money. The better the school, the more likely you'll be shown the door.
Rule No. 2: Settle on a school first, then find a place to live that's convenient to it. Otherwise, you could end up with an hour-long school run—twice a day.
Rule No. 3: Use the Web. Resources like the Good Schools Guide (goodschoolsguide.com) and the European Council of International Schools (ecis.com) will get you started, and every school has a website these days, usually with information on curriculum and links to academic rankings.
Rule No. 4: Pick at least three schools and visit them with your child. See where he or she feels comfortable. Tour the classrooms during school hours, if possible. Many parents, even those seeking the full cultural immersion experience for their children, will end up focusing on schools that cater to international students. Short-term postings in London, Paris or Geneva often call for international schools because it means the kids won't have to make a transition into an entirely new system. With the high cost of private education and many companies cutting down on expat benefits, more parents are also looking at less costly options like state- or church-run schools. Whatever you decide, make sure your choice is an educated one.