Kayla Mason

SMU-in-Paris, Summer 2015
SMU-in-Switzerland, Spring 2016

Economics with Financial Applications and Markets & Culture majors, and International Studies minor

Graduating Spring 2017


“I was traveling alone to meet my Mom in Rome for Easter weekend and had arrived at the train station in Milan in plenty of time. I had been to this train station countless times and knew it like the back of my hand. I boarded my train, and about 10 minutes into my ride, realized I had unbelievably boarded the wrong train. To make matters worse, my iPhone 4 that I was using temporarily died, so I had no way to reach my mom, buy another ticket, translate any Italian, or pull up the address of the hotel I was staying at in Rome for my future taxi ride. Ironically, this is my favorite abroad moment because how I reacted at this moment made me realize going abroad had changed me. Before going abroad, I would’ve panicked and just had a total meltdown. By this time, I had spent 3 months abroad, learned some Italian, and became travel savvy enough to know what to do to fix the situation. I took a deep breath, used the little Italian I knew to make things right with the train conductor and find the correct train and route, had some faith in my knowledgeable taxi driver and borrowed some kind man’s phone to text my mom. I made it to Rome and found my way to my hotel and worried mom just fine in the end!”

–Kayla Mason


During SMU-in-Paris, Kayla took Orient and the Occident: Encounters Between the Middle East and the West in the Modern Era and One King, One Law: France 1500-1789.

Some of her favorite things she did while she was in Paris were her group dinners with professors, having dinner with her family at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and doing homework in all the different parks throughout Paris. She also loved touring the chateaus and castles of the Loire Valley and singing at the Paris Summer Solstice music festival.

While you’re in Paris she says you definitely take the opportunity to study in one of the various parks throughout Paris–her favorite was the gardens by the Louvre. You definitely have to go to the Louvre, but take it slowly and see one section at a time because it’s so massive. Make sure take the train for the day to see Versailles. If you have a free day, explore Monmartre and walk all the way up to Sacré-Cœur Basilica to see an amazing view of the city. You also should a picnic on the lawn behind the Eiffel Tower.

While in Paris for the summer Kayla also traveled to Amsterdam, Brussels, and Prague.

Kayla loved Paris so much that she decided to study abroad again in the spring. While in Switzerland, Kayla took Corporate Finance, International Banking and Finance, Economics of the EU, Global History II, and Intro to Italian


During her second study abroad in Switzerland Kayla was able to travel even more. Her favorite memories during her semester abroad include touring Andalusia through her school’s “Academic Travel” program for 2 weeks. She also got to ski in three different countries on the same day in Chamonix. While abroad she attended concerts in Milan, Italy, watched the Barcelona/Madrid game in Barcelona, went to Carnivale in Bellinzona, and even attended Easter Sunday Mass at the Vatican. Some of her other favorite memories are watching the sunset behind the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, seeing the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany, and celebrating her 21st birthday with her friends in Ibiza, Spain.


While you’re spending a semester in Switzerland, Kayla absolutely recommends going to dinner at the Hotel Splendide if you want something fancy, having lunch cruise on the lake, having brunch in the main square, spending a night out at Marley’s, Chocolate, Wknd, or Seven, and eating one of the famous burgers at Kadime’s.

While spending her semester abroad, Kayla also traveled to Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Salzburg, Austria; Madrid, Spain, Toledo, Spanish; Venice, Italy; Zurich, Switzerland; Geneva, Switzerland; Liechtenstein; and Lake Como, Italy.


Check out the SMU Abroad website where you want to learn more about SMU’s current summer programs in France, and Rome and Paris. You can also check out the SMU-in-Switzerland program.


If you want to learn more about how to travel and make the most of your weekends abroad, check out Kayla’s travel tips on our website.


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