I'm in a very difficult situation and would appreciate any advice anyone is willing to give. I'll try and be breif with my situation.
I came to Switzerland (around 10 minutes from Geneva) about two weeks ago to work as an au pair for a year. Unfortanately, yesterday all has dissolved and I've got to Thursday to ship out.
But where too? I have too much luggage (chunky suitcase, guitar, violin, backpack) to start backpacking and not enough money to keep going for long(around 3000 australian dollars), and no work visa to earn money (this is taken from me with the loss of contract).
Is there anything I can do in this situation, or should I just give up, and get a plane home (to Australia). I have a return ticket and could change the date. Theres something overwhelmingly shaming in this, but then its also probably better than blowing all my money and having to start again when I come home.
Ouch, that sounds like a pretty horrible experience. Assuming you're under 31, you should be able to apply for a Working Holiday visa from most any European country relatively easily (the UK or Ireland probably are easiest to find work in due to not having a language barrier). I'm not 100% certain you can apply for a WHV to those countries while not in Australia, but it works the other way around (as long as you're not inside the country you're applying for a WHV for), so worth looking into.
Do you have to leave Switzerland before Thursday, or just the place where you're staying at now? I don't know how things would work, since you've probably entered the country on that work visa, but I'd assume you would just be eligible for getting a Schengen visa which would allow you to stay in the Schengen Zone (e.g. most of the EU except for the UK) for 90 days, either starting count "now", or on the day you entered the country two weeks ago. If so, then I'd recommend storing everything except your backpack for a while (you should be able to rent a storage cabinet somewhere for not too much; I've never needed a service like that, but try asking at hostels for advice for where to find something like that; that's usually a good first place to start) and go enjoy backpacking while waiting for that WHV. (Assuming there's actually any wait; if the process of getting a WHV here in Europe is as swift and painless as it is in Australia, you could have one within minutes. I'm sure someone else will be along shortly who'd be able to advice on that.)
If you're not eligible for a WHV, AUD $3000 won't last you a whole lot of time here in Europe, but should still allow you to at least travel around for 2-4 weeks (depending on how frugally you live) before flying back home. Same deal with just storing the rest of your luggage while doing so.
Hope these first thoughts will help you a bit with directions in which to think. I'll reply more if I have any sudden good insights on what to do. Good luck with it all!
Thanks so much for your help!
I think Ive calmed down a bit now after todays franticness. I don't have to leave Switerland by thursday, but the house Im staying in.
I'll call the Australian Embassy tomorrow and get all the particulars on WHV.
At this stage my plans are to send my guitar, violin, and big case back home by cheapest possible post (boat), take the bare necessities in my backpack and go to stay in Geneva to start with. From there, I'm not sure but hopefully I can meet some more people, get some ideas, and in the meantime work out WHV.
I'm searching to see also if there are any friends of friends (I personally know no one) over here who may be able to help me out for a little bit.
I didn't know about the storage thing either, so i'll look in to that vs. post also.
Thankyou so much for your help and any other tiny bits of advice you have would be delightedly accepted.
Perhaps you could try something like "couchsurfing" websites and see if anyone will help you either with a place to stay or somewhere to store your stuff for you while you sort your stuff out.
here's an idea... check out www.helpx.net ...
my b/f and i are doing this... u stay at a place and eat for free (or close to) in xchange fora few hours work a day. there's places all over UK, EU etc... that's b a way to stretch ur dollar and also meet the locals
Something to keep in mind: if you are doing couchsurfing and helpx without a work visa or a residency permit or any other long-term stay visa you are limited to 90 days in a 180 day period for your stay inside the Schengen area
At the current stage I think Germany would be easiest for you to get a new residency permit from. Not a work permit though, so you'll be looking at helpx and WWOOF. I'll gladly explain in detail if you want it.
Thanks for all your tips.
If possible, could you explain a little more these organisations? If you have time. I speak a little French, so it makes living in french speaking Europe a little easier than others.
helpx and WWOOF: google is your friend.
I was offering to explain about applying for a residency permit in Germany, sorry if I was not clear enough.
yea dont get stuck forgetting about that 90 day rule! we got a rude awakening after planning to just backpack for the whole year not leaving eastern EU... cant do it! but... u can get around it by leaving the countries and not overstaying the 90 out of 180 days...
those helpx jobs are all over EU like i said... u could do some time in non schengan countries eg. bulgaria + romania (i think they are non-schengan) and that would slow down/extend the 90 day out of 180 day time (if that makes sense). ive had great experiences talking to the families on this website! we picked one in portugal and one in spain... cant wait to go they sound so awesome
most of the families ive talked to as well are happy to negotiate with meals etc. eg. work less hours but pay for own food... work longer hours get a 3 day wkend etc... theyre pretty flexible!