StudentUniverseThe ultimate city guide for international students in Dallas

The ultimate city guide for international students in Dallas

A city that international students can enjoy without the price tag of New York or San Francisco, Dallas boasts vibrant campuses and fascinating cultural experiences

Texas may conjure up images of cowboys and cookouts but there’s much more to the Lone Star state than that – and Dallas can certainly prove it. The ninth most populous city in the US, Dallas offers eclectic neighbourhoods, thrilling nightlife, and a diverse economy that supports a wide range of jobs. For international students, it’s much more than just an intellectual hub – it’s a gateway to exploring the best of the US South and beyond. Keep reading to find out more about student life in Dallas.

The best universities for international students

If you’ve decided that Dallas is the city for you, you’ll have to choose which institution you want to study at. Fortunately, Dallas and the wider metropolitan area have several great universities to choose from. We’ve highlighted three below:

The University of Texas at Dallas – Located just a few miles north of downtown Dallas, the University of Texas at Dallas attracts students from all over the world, drawn to its high-quality research, commitment to academic excellence and numerous social opportunities. The institution is extremely popular with international students, ranking as the 12th most popular higher education institution in the US among overseas learners.

University of Dallas – Technically situated in Irving, a nearby city that forms part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the University of Dallas is a highly rated liberal arts school with a growing body of international attendees. Although a Catholic institution, the university welcomes students of all faiths and offers 27 undergraduate majors, more than 20 graduate programmes and a wide range of other accreditations.

Southern Methodist University – For students who want to take classes in the heart of Dallas, there’s no better choice than the Southern Methodist University (SMU). The institution boasts a vibrant campus that has welcomed more than 143,000 alumni from across the world. The most recent data indicates that more than 8 per cent of students at SMU are from abroad, with the largest international cohorts travelling from China, India and Mexico.


The aptly named University Park is often cited as the best neighbourhood in Dallas for student accommodation. Built around SMU’s campus, University Park has managed to retain its quaint, community feel even as it has expanded. Its location means students can walk to classes, restaurants, shops and cafés. SMU students are likely to find on-campus accommodation the most affordable but many current Dallas students and graduates also rent privately. 

For students who would rather live in Irving, the Las Colinas neighbourhood proves popular because of its affordability and broad set of amenities. The city of Richardson, an inner suburb of Dallas, is another great option, particularly for students at UT Dallas. Richardson is noteworthy for its job connections, especially in the telecommunications sector.

Places to eat and drink

Unsurprisingly, as a city home to more than 1.3 million people, Dallas has something for everyone in terms of its food and drink outlets. If you’re an international student looking for a morning pick-me-up, the Sip Stir Coffee House is a fantastic place to meet friends over a latte and pastry. For a taste of the state’s renowned Tex-Mex, head to one of several Mi Cocina outlets – be sure to try the Sunset Sauce.

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, Dallas is about much more than Tex-Mex. Saint Martin's Wine Bistro offers first-rate French food, from roasted duck to beef bourguignon. Although it’s a little pricier, it provides a nice change of scenery and is perfect for when family is visiting.

Things to do

Dallas has a plethora of activities on offer, whatever your interests. History fans can visit a museum chronicling JFK’s legacy and the events surrounding his assassination. The Dallas Museum of Art, one of the 10 largest art museums in the US, contains more than 24,000 works of art from all cultures and time periods, spanning 5,000 years of human creativity.

A stroll around the 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park provides respite from the bustling city, while a trip to the AT&T Stadium – home of the Dallas Cowboys – is a truly Texan experience. 

Life on a budget

Student budgets can be tight and although Dallas isn’t as expensive as some other cities in the US – food in Texas is 21 per cent cheaper than in San Francisco – there are times when you may be operating on a tight budget. Budgeting tips include making use of public transport rather than taxis and enjoying the Texas sunshine – the great outdoors is completely free, after all. Don’t forget to use your student discount at participating restaurants and attractions, such as Inwood Theatre. 

Places to study

Whether you prefer the buzz of a coffee shop or the peace and quiet of a library, Dallas has you covered. The Nasher Sculpture Center has a great museum café that provides inspirational views and delicious treats to enjoy while you work. The Dallas Public Library boasts 29 locations spread across Dallas and doesn’t cost a thing. 

Ready to plan your trip? Find out more about StudentUniverse, a travel agency for students, offering exclusive discounts on flights to the US that you won’t find anywhere else.­

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