I have a somewhat complicated situation and any help, advice, or experience would be much appreciated. I'm an American currently living in Germany with a work permit (freelancer) that expires at the end of June. I have an upcoming freelance job booked (with an American company) in France for two months, ending two days after my work permit expires. Further, I have the potential of another job with another American company in France extending one month beyond that time, so until the end of July. I know that I want to leave Germany, so I don't think that I can get any kind of extension here since I've already quit working and will no longer have my apartment by then. I have an appointment with the US Embassy but their initial response was that we can't stay visa free after having been on visa status. I wasn't in Europe for the full 180 days of my Schengen visa before I received my German work permit...does that count as a credit somewhere?
Also, I would like to stay in Europe to spend six months to a year in Austria, not on a work permit but just with a residence permit or student visa to continue studying German. Originally I thought if I decided not to attempt the Austrian visa system and go back to the US after working in France, I could take trains to Romania and fly out of Bucharest via the Ukraine. But after some research I'm not sure that would work how I intended because of Romania's status. Further, I really am hoping to stay in Austria and am not sure if I'd be able to apply for a visa and go there after France. I know it's complicated but if anyone has any solid advice or information based on experience, I would be so grateful. Thanks!