An international student from India got a glimpse into the inner workings of local government last week.
Rajat Kadian, a senior at Oxford High School, shadowed Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn.
Dunn explained to him how township government works, the services it provides, his role in it as an elected official and its relationship to the other levels of government as well as the voters and taxpayers to which it must answer.
During his time with the supervisor, Kadian visited the township hall, the main fire station on M-24 and the Oxford Community Television station.
From this experience, Kadian learned that local government in the United States has “more interaction with the people” and is “more effective (at) implementing policies” and responding to needs.
“Local government leaders are more flexible and resilient,” he said. “That’s something I found intriguing.”
Kadian was grateful to Dunn for showing him around and giving him a crash course in local government.
“You can never say ‘no’ to learning,” said the 17-year-old. “Any job-shadow opportunity is always worthwhile.”
Kadian comes from the city of Sonipat (or Sonepat) in the Indian state of Haryana. Initially, he had no plans to study abroad, but Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne’s visit to India piqued his interest in coming to the U.S.
He described himself as one of those people who “constantly seeks challenges” and “tries to improve” himself, so continuing his education thousands of miles from his home and family seemed like a natural fit.
Kadian, who arrived last August, relishes the independence living here has given him and enjoys being able to make his own decisions and be responsible for the consequences.
“It improves my character. It makes me a man,” he said. “I believe that life is your best teacher.”
That’s why he likes the education he’s receiving at OHS because in the U.S., schooling is “more practical” and more “hands-on.”
“It’s more about learning from life,” Kadian said.
In India, he said education is “more theoretical” and focused on “mastering books.”
Kadian is still trying to do decide what to do with his life.
He’s looking at either a career in business or politics.
“That’s the dilemma,” he said. “I believe I have good leadership qualities, a good voice (and) a good way of dealing with people and influencing them.”
He hopes to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has applied to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
“I’m awaiting their decision,” Kadian said.
Kadian will never forget how the people of Oxford have embraced him. “It’s a very humbling experience,” he said. “People are so welcoming and generous. It’s like a home away from home for me.”
Although he’s only been here for about six months, he’s already learned the most valuable lesson of all about this state – “Michigan’s weather, it’s deceptive,”
“It snows, then it’s sunshine the next day,” Kadian said. “You can’t trust the weather.”