Many questions, lots of tips, a blog and a motivated Martina Hassgren. That’s the recipe behind Luleå’s biggest student guide.

The year was 2013, and Martina Hassgren, 27, chose to kick-start her studies in politics and community development in her own hometown of Luleå. For her classmates, it was pure luxury.
Finally, they had someone to ask questions to. They all came from other parts of the country and didn’t know much about Luleå. Martina told them about everything from the best ski slopes to the hottest clothing stores and restaurants.

Suddenly she had an idea - combine her interest in writing with teaching her classmates more about the city. Said and done, on her private blog she shared one hint after another. The response was enormous. Suddenly, she had created what today has turned into the Luleå Student Guide.

“It was much bigger than I ever could have imagined, and it shows how great the need is. Luleå offers something for everyone, it is important for students to find that out. Luleå is so much more than just socializing on campus,” she says.

According to Martina, many students never find their way downtown. Something she, as a Luleå native, thinks is a shame.

“This is an amazing city that more people should open their eyes to. I like that it’s small and big at the same time. It’s close to everything, while most anything you need is here.”

Currently, the student guide attracts 2,000 visitors a month who get information about everything worth knowing about Luleå, mainly from a student’s perspective, of course.

“The students want to have many options and are happy to find discount prices. Many do not even know that we have an incredible ice rink here. Or that the archipelago teems with lovely beaches everywhere.”

Martina hopes that the student guide in the long run will lead to more people remaining in Luleå after completing their studies.

“There is so much happening here right now, both in terms of residential housing and enterprise. Luleå is not a fixed concept, which I can sense that many other major cities are. Luleå is under construction, and it makes it very interesting.”

She hopes to remain in the city herself when she has graduated. Preferably at Luleå University of Technology.

“I would like to work with communication with the students. We need someone to take responsibility for them wanting to stay here".

Text: Vanessa Cicero

Photo: Tomas Bergman