Ambassadors Life Around Dallas Texas Travel

Getting Around Dallas!

The fact that Dallas is our backyard is one of the best parts of being at SMU! This city has everything: exciting sports, tantalizing eateries, electrifying concerts, adventurous trails, captivating museums, and more! But figuring out how to travel to these events and places seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for SMU students…or is it?

Travelling around Dallas is actually really easy! And cheap! So don’t let a little logistics stop you from maximizing your time in this incredible city! Check out a few of my favorite transportation options below…


The cheapest, most fun, and most active way to get around Dallas!! On a beautiful Dallas spring day, grab a friend and a 7/11 Slurpee and head to anywhere in the city! Some popular spots near campus to walk to are Snider Plaza (eat at Bubba’s!), or to La Madeleine (use that student discount!). And if you really just want to walk, head down the Katy Trail. You can make it all the way to the American Airlines Center in only 3.5 miles under a canopy trail. You can walk, run, and jog there! Or if you are really adventurous, you can wog (walk jog). Some cool spots to stop along the way are the Village Baking Company, Wild About Harry’s, and the Katy Trail Ice House!

Pro: Free, fun way to explore, exercise!

Con: Takes a long time, limited geographic area

Your Car!

Freshmen can bring their car! Having your own car does provide you independence because, hey! Want to drive and get a Whataburger Hub Chub (Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit) at 1 am? Forgot to get a memory foam mattress topper at Target? Need to drive to the interview for your first internship? Yep! Having a car makes it easy to do all of these things and more. Your schedule, your car, and your time to explore! Also! You can 100% offer to drive your friends around. Better to explore together!

However, if you aren’t used to driving in a big city (or even if you are), Dallas drivers can be a little crazy. They drive FAST here, and the interstate system has many off and on ramps. Also, finding parking can be challenging to find, and then they make you PAY for it! Wild!

Pro: Independence, your own air fresheners, control (if you’re one of those people who need it)

Con: Paying for gas, parking, Dallas drivers


The easiest, quickest, and potentially the cheapest alternative to having a car. Your first friend on campus is typically your roommate, and the best way to bond with your roommate is to drive  unnecessarily long distances to stock up on the essentials. Carpooling with your roommate and new friends is the best way to make friends and help each other out. Although campus is great, people typically want a reason to go explore their new home (aka Dallas). So give them a reason to check out the latest Swedish furniture trends at IKEA, get gas at the greatest gas station in the world – Buc-ee’s, try a Czech Stop Kolache, and/or play at Klyde Warren Park.

Pros: Make new friends, give your friends a reason to explore Dallas, environmentally and economically friendly carpooling

Con: Lack of independence (no way to really hurry up that friend that can’t decide), parking

Uber & Lyft

The Uber and Lyft drivers are bountiful on SMU’s campus. (Not a bad side gig if you need one.) And with downtown only being 10-15 minutes away, no trip is ever too expensive. Plus, if you split a ride with friends (safety in numbers!), you’ll be paying pennies for your rides! Okay, so maybe not actual pennies…but! It will be cheap! The drivers are generally pretty friendly with great stories, and they know campus well. Convenient if you ever need to get somewhere fairly quick and want to avoid parking.

Pros: Fairly inexpensive, no parking, fun stories from your local drivers, convenient

Cons: Safety (just make sure to bring a friend or two), still does cost money, little less control


THE SINGLE GREATEST TRANSPORTATION OPTION EVER!!!!!!! Okay, that may be a little over dramatic/not 100% true…but! The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit System) is awesome!! The DART is essentially free because you only pay $5 for unlimited access to the DART buses AND monorails for. all. 4. years. And the DART goes everywhere! I have personally traveled to the Texas State Fair, DFW Airport, American Airlines Center, Dallas Marathon starting line, and to many other places. Not only did I not have to pay for gas, I also didn’t have to worry about parking. Plus! I reduced my carbon footprint by using public transportation! And how fun is it to get a big group of friends and all travel together without worrying about who will drive or fighting over who gets shotgun?

Okay, so here is the non-rose-colored version of the DART. The DART is truly an easy and inexpensive way to get around Dallas. While the schedule is fairly reliable and consistent, the DART does not have the same time precision as a German train. (Aka it can be a little late). I would also recommend taking the DART with friends during the daylight. Also, although police officers patrol the DART, they cannot be everywhere at once. You will most likely make it home safely, but if it’s super late, you would be better off just taking the $10 Uber home. However! Coming from someone who didn’t grow up with reliable and ubiquitous public transportation, I cannot stress enough how cool of a resource the DART can be for us as SMU students!

Pros: Essentially free, cool way to explore Dallas, no parking, no Dallas traffic, ability to make memories with friends

Cons: Best to take during the day, potentially unpredictable schedule

The good news is that whatever form of transportation you choose, you will be able to explore Dallas and make memories with your new friends!


Travel onward, and Pony Up!

Nick Fontela

Class of 2021

Accounting, B.A. | Cox School of Business

Ambassadors Campus Life Travel

Being an International Student at SMU

Hola! My name is Sofia Marin (’22), and I am an international student from Maracaibo, Venezuela double majoring in Business and Advertising with a minor in French! Two years ago, I made the decision to come to SMU to pursue my bachelor’s degree, and since then, I have felt nothing but gratitude and happiness for having made this choice.

In 2018 I left Venezuela driven by two main motifs; First, the critical economic and political situation of the country, and second, the unique opportunity my parents gave me of acquiring an exceptional education in the United States. Since I was little, I have always come to the US for summer camps, family vacations, and more, but choosing the place where I would spend the next four years of my life growing as a professional was completely different and no minor decision. For me, aside from the academic excellence, this needed to be a place where I could immerse myself into an entirely new culture, and develop unique perspectives on different topics, but at the same time, where I could feel the warmth of home and a sense of belonging. And that is exactly what I’ve found here at SMU.

I’ve met amazing people with similar backgrounds to mine, from Latin American countries like Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador that make me feel at home and remind me the value of our roots, but also people from all the way to Asia, Europe and more, that help me widen my outlook on the world and teach me about different cultures. Professors have been a vital part of the experience too, with their demonstrated unconditional support and strong desire to see students succeed, I have found role models and mentors and created relationships that I am sure will last for a lifetime. The campus itself has contributed to my journey as well, with places such as Fondy, HT, and Dallas Hall Lawn turning into special spots where I create memories with friends, learn new things, or simply appreciate life and how blessed I am for being there. From Celebration of Lights, to Midnight Market, the school hosts events and carries traditions that separate this place from others and connects students, faculty, and staff. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to leave your home country and start a “new life”, but the support, resources and people SMU has given me have made this journey enjoyable, unique and even magical. There is not a moment I don’t thank my parents for giving me this unique opportunity, and the school for being what it is to me today: my home away from home.

Pony Up!

Sofia Marin

Class of 2022

Academics SMU Abroad Travel

Studying Abroad at SMU

Hey, y’all! My name is Jake Greene and I am a sophomore studying Finance and Markets & Culture. I am originally from Austin, Texas, but I am currently living in Richmond, Virginia with my family.

SMU is lucky to have a great Study Abroad office that encourages students to expand their horizons and take classes outside of Dallas. Students can pick from summer or semester-long programs to take classes for their majors/minors or fulfill UC requirements. There are programs across the world – from yoga courses in Bali to language immersion programs in Spain. Pick a place, and SMU can help you make it reality.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to study at University College (the oldest of the 39 colleges in the University of Oxford) for five weeks through the SMU-in-Oxford program. It was one of the highlights of my SMU experience, and I can’t help but think about a few things that I miss about England and the program.

The Classes

I took two classes on the University College campus – one class about European Diplomacy, and another about 18th Century England that was taught by a real Oxford professor. The classes were always interesting, as we took day trips to learn about history in the places where it actually happened (English landmarks like Stonehenge, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Westminster Abbey). Because of this unique class structure, I was able to develop closer bonds with my professors and better understand the material.

The Culture

Whether it be for a few weeks or a full semester, studying abroad allows you to become immersed in a new culture. By the end of the five weeks, I realized that I wasn’t just an American tourist in Europe – I was a real Oxford student. I knew the best study spots, I had a favorite grocery store, and the guy at the kebab shop even knew my order (shoutout to Ahmed). I still miss the English culture, and my experiences have inspired me to move abroad at some point in the future.

The Friends

Lastly, the incredible friendships that I made throughout the five weeks was one of the best parts about my time in England. We studied together, made memories in the Univ pub, and traveled on the weekends. Living together and studying abroad is a great bonding experience, and I am so glad that I was able to become friends with people that I still see at SMU.

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity. SMU students are World Changers, and studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to expand horizons and make unforgettable memories.

Pony up!

Life Around Dallas Texas Travel

Weekend Trip to Austin

For a little weekend getaway, my friends and I drove down to Austin, Texas for Austin City Limits last weekend. That’s one of the great things about Dallas, its proximity to other really cool cities. Austin is just a quick 3-hour drive and can be fun for a change of scenery.

We drove down on Friday after class just in time to see Jay-Z, Martin Garrix and Foster the People. On Saturday morning, we went to brunch at Jo’s Coffee and then went in to ACL early to explore Zilker Park. They have the most amazing ACL Eats Food Court- with everything from Shake Shack to local Austin pizza places (eating pizza in Austin is a must!). There are 8 different stages, and the Austin skyline is visible from everywhere in the park. On Saturday, we saw Ice Cube, Red Hot Chili Peppers and then went to a Silent Disco.

There is so much to do in Dallas on the weekends that you would never have to leave, but I recommend exploring other cities in Texas if you get the opportunity. Over the past four years, I have fallen in love with not only Dallas and SMU but more broadly, Texas. Everything truly is bigger and better in Texas!

Taylor Walden