International Student Spotlight: Ligia Benitez-Rubio

By Jewell Strock

Ligia Benitez-Rubio is a senior marketing major from El Salvador. El Salvador is a country in Central America rich with cultural heritage, vibrant, and full of life. Benitez-Rubio’s favorite thing about El Salvador is the warm culture and relationship-oriented, hard-working, and friendly people. People value time with each other, throwing parties and events to foster friendships. 

Before attending Cedarville, Benitez-Rubio attended Word of Life in Florida for a semester. During her semester there, God worked through her life and showed her His faithfulness. Through trials, she discovered that God was leading her somewhere else. She heard about Cedarville through a mutual friend and felt God was leading her to apply.

“It was hard,” Benitez-Rubio said. “I moved here in the spring, and it was a drastic temperature change. At Word of Life, everyone had the same schedule, and it was easy to spend time with people. Everyone’s schedules are different here, and it’s hard to meet up with people sometimes.”

Adjusting to a busier schedule was also challenging for Benitez-Rubio. Despite the busy work schedule in El Salvador, her parents would have people over for dinner and the rest of the evening or even for lunch. In America, everything seems more rushed, and people need to be more intentional about spending time with one another.  

One thing Benitez-Rubio appreciates about America is the diversity of cultures.

“We are all so different and come from different cultures and backgrounds,” Benitez-Rubio said. “I like seeing how God created each of us differently. We share many things in common, but we all come from different backgrounds and cultures. It reminds me of how in Heaven all tribes and nations will be unified worshiping Christ.” 

The international student body has helped Benitez-Rubio adjust to Cedarville. 

“We are all adjusting to a new culture and way of life,” Benitez-Rubio said. Knowing other people have the same fears and struggles creates a great support system, especially knowing you can all rely on each other.”

Through MISO and GSO, Cedarville helps  Benitez-Rubio be proud of and celebrate her culture. 

“I appreciate where I come from,” Benitez-Rubio said. “And how I view the world because of that and my background, the way I grew up, and by having the opportunity to serve other students. I have been able to relate to them and share about my culture. Having friends from all over the world has been my favorite part.”

Benitez-Rubio values sharing El Salvadoran culture with others and encourages everyone to visit. 

Benitez-Rubio wishes more people would show understanding to international students and refrain from assumptions and generalizations about them, their culture, or how they are adapting to Cedarville. 

“I love being here, but sometimes in classes and in public areas, I hear people use terms that I don’t agree with,” said Benitez-Rubio. “People use the term ‘third-world country’ in a way that assumes El Salvador or any other country in Central America is poor. That is not true. We are less developed than some, but we are growing economically. I am grateful for what I have in America, but I am also proud of my culture and country. It is not something I am ashamed of.” 

Benitez-Rubio is proud of El Salvador and is never shy about talking about her culture and sharing what she knows. She wants everyone to respect the diversity of cultures on campus and appreciate the different outlooks people bring. She cannot wait to see how all different cultures unite to worship Christ. 

Jewell Strock is a senior International Studies major & journalist for Cedars. She enjoys reading, matcha, rainy weather, traveling, & Jane Austen.

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