I hate to post a question that i can't see being of benefit to others as well, but i'm rather stuck and i have a lot of respect for the perspectives of you all.
I finished a MA in sound design at AFTRS, sydney in 2009. It's a pretty respected school, and it taught me a great deal about sound design; but also to be humble as someone with limited professional experience.
I came to NYC in Sept '09 to try and find some people i could learn from on internships and whatnot. Because of the state of the industry at the time, i never ended up getting on board the kind of project (decent sized feature) that i came here for. Instead, i've been doing a lot of shorts; working as a recording engineer/mixer at a little studio that does foreign language dubs; and i'm halfway through an ultra low budget feature as sound designer.
My visa is almost up, and i have a decision to make:
The studio i'm working for in NYC have come to rely on me a lot, and said they'd do what they can to keep me here. The problem is, their work is low budget/low quality/fast turnaround and i'm not learning anything of value here. On top of that, my chances at landing the visa are iffy at best. The visa would not allow me to work for anyone other than the employer who petitions for me, thus excluding me from the possibility of freelance work on respectable features.
On the other hand, i could go back to Sydney, Australia. The sound post industry there is a lot smaller, however; some of my good friends are in with one of the most respected sound post crews in australia. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of work, but with time i could probably land an assisting role.
So in summary: try to stay in NYC at a job i don't particularly get a lot from, and work on cash-in-hand indie films on the side; or go back to Sydney where the work isn't that plentiful, but where i have more of a foot in the door?
Your opinions will be greatly valued!