After learning how to incorporate documentary filmmaking into his teaching, Paul A. Schroeder Rodríguez worked with students in his Spanish 345 course, “Puerto Rico: Diaspora Nation,” to conduct oral histories of Puerto Ricans in and around Holyoke, Mass., a city that’s home to the largest population of Puerto Ricans, per capita, in the continental United States. Then, over spring break, the class went to Puerto Rico to interview family members of the Holyoke subjects. Students turned the resulting footage into a 22-minute documentary film. On the pages that follow, the professor explains how the project came to be, five students describe the trip and some of the interview subjects share their perspective.
How students interviewed Puerto Ricans in Holyoke, Mass.—and then flew to Puerto Rico to meet the relatives of those original subjects. [Read this story in Spanish: “Una de las experiencias más gratificantes de mi vida”]