The Language and Intercultural Relations program: what’s it all about?

A little about me

My name is Erica Williams and I am from Barrie, Ontario. I just finished my first year at Ryerson University in the Language and Intercultural Relations (LIR) program. During my this past year I lived in the International Living/Learning Centre residence building.

What is the Language and Intercultural Relations program?

This program is all about, not only learning new languages but learning about different cultures along with their similarities and differences when compared to others. This program offers three concentrations:

  1. Organizational Behaviour (business oriented)
  2. Language and Cognition (psychology oriented)
  3. Translation Studies (it’s not obvious but…translation oriented)

From these three concentrations, you are to pick one by the end of first year, and that is what will become your specialization. You also choose if you want to focus on the French or Spanish stream. If you are interested in getting to know the program procedures a little better, I recommend visiting the Language and Intercultural Relations webpage, where you can access the program website, the program courses and so much more.

My favourite thing about my program

A common misconception about the LIR program is that it only revolves around languages and cultures. On the contrary, what I love about the LIR program is that you have the freedom to take classes that have nothing to do with language or culture (yay). For example, this semester I am taking a class about Sustaining the City’s Environments. This is my favourite thing about my program because it permits me to take classes based on my other interests, hence not obligating me to stick to one subject in particular.

My favourite thing about Ryerson

Ryerson is situated in the heart of Toronto – there is always something going on and things to see. I like that everything is within walking distance. It is also easy to get around using the TTC, which is super convenient (though the streetcars need to up their game for punctuality). The nearest subway station is at Yonge-Dundas Square, located just minutes away from the university. From there, you are able to choose between many types of restaurants, enjoy Allan Gardens Conservatory or go shopping at the Eaton Centre, which are all within less than a 10-minute walk from the university. With that said, it is hard to be bored.

My greatest accomplishment so far in my program

Time management skills and initiative are a must in university because no one is there to tell you what to do and when to do it. It may sound scary at first, but you will manage. Trust me. Most of the courses in the LIR program have multiple projects, therefore my greatest accomplishment so far in my program is that I have managed to work in a timely manner and always handed in my assignments on time.


My favourite course that I have taken so far

I am currently taking an American Sign Language course and I have to say that it is my favourite class. We are 7 students in the course (since it is an intermediate level course), so it is great for participating and practicing the language. One of the main reasons that I like this class so much is because the professor is amazing. She will let you know if you are not doing something right and correct you right away. This way, you are constantly learning and improving your skills.

Has my perception of my program changed from the beginning of first-year to now?

At the beginning of first-year, I wasn’t too sure what careers my program could lead me to. I was learning many languages and cultures, but what to do with all that? I booked an appointment with a licensed career counsellor through the Ryerson Career Centre who understood my interests, and further guided me through endless options of career paths I could take. For example, business, education, translation, tourism policies, immigrant settlement and many more. More information about career opportunities can be found on the program’s calendar under “Program Overview/Curriculum Information”.

Some advice

If you are planning to enroll in this program, two key concepts to remember are to manage your time and take initiative. You can manage your time by making lists of what to do and take initiative by reading the course syllabus (everything you need to know is in that bad boy).

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