- Alumni Features
Clark Kosene began attending the International School of Indiana (ISI) in grade 2, just 3 years into the school’s existence. After graduating from ISI in 2007, Clark’s academic career continued at Indiana University. Upon earning an undergraduate degree, he then attended law school at Fordham University.
Today, Clark resides in New York City, where he owns a creative agency and film production company, Kosene Creative. In October, his film, FUBAR, which was based on a story by Kurt Vonnegut, premiered in Indianapolis.
Clark credits his ability to adapt to his surroundings and connect with all types of people to his time at ISI.
With benefits like language immersion or the IB Diploma Programme, what drew you most to ISI?
I have to credit my parents for their foresight in recognizing the potential of ISI. When they enrolled my sisters and me, the school was nothing more than an experiment. ISI had yet to grow past the 5th grade and was renting classrooms from a church. However small, my parents saw a tremendous upside. No other school in the area offered the opportunity for two lifelong Hoosiers to raise trilingual children. For that matter, it was the only school where their children would develop an international social network before the age of 10. As the school grew - and we grew with it - ISI fulfilled its promise of a cultural and academic education unlike anything else in the state.
ISI has a curriculum that focuses on the arts and shaping their students’ outlook on international relations. In your experience as an ISI student, how do you think this unique approach to learning sets ISI apart from other schools?
As far as international relations, ISI is in a league of its own. More important than the curriculum - which is robust in its own right - is the day-to-day interaction with people from all corners of the world. The real learning happens in the hallways, in the lunchroom, and on the playground. It instills a cultural sensitivity that cannot be achieved without daily exposure to diversity.
What differentiates ISI from an academic standpoint is the focus on writing and critical thinking, both of which are essential life skills. The IB curriculum forces you to do more than regurgitate facts. It teaches you to think independently, consider sources skeptically, and to craft a convincing argument. Moreover, it teaches you how to communicate that argument in a clear, eloquent manner. The education I received at ISI has given me a leg up not only through undergrad and law school but also in the working world.
From student clubs and groups to a wide range of athletics, what extra-curricular activities, or community-building events, were your favorite to get involved with at ISI, and how did they help shape the person you are today?
I took full advantage of the extra-curricular activities at ISI. I played basketball, soccer, and briefly rowed crew. I also participated in theater, the literary arts magazine, and student government. My personal favorite was competing on the Brain Game team. At a larger school, I would not have had the opportunity to join as many clubs (varsity basketball, I’m looking at you). However, ISI gave me the freedom to explore my interests and discover unknown talents, which made me a more well-rounded and self-aware person when I graduated.
Considering the impactful opportunities ISI presents to its students, like the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project and the overall international experience, what were you able to gain from your ISI experience that has stuck with you throughout your life?
It sounds trite but ISI produces citizens of the world. From community service, to exchange trips, to daily interactions with teachers and peers, I was regularly confronted with the idea that the world is a complex, diverse place. As a result, I developed the tools to adapt to my surroundings and connect with people from all walks of life - whether that was a night out in Bloomington or interning on the Supreme Court of Ghana.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the languages. Fluency in multiple languages is quite a skill to have in your back pocket when you graduate high school.
What advice would you give to parents considering ISI for their children?
By sending your child to ISI, you’re providing them with a world-class education, the ability to speak multiple languages, and, most importantly, a global network of friends. You’re also providing them with a lifetime of responding to “I thought you grew up in Indiana” when they explain how they learned those languages and met those friends