Learn. Understand. Connect. Appreciate.

Put simply...

Smart Effective Learning is a training resource run by me, James Granahan, to help YOU to connect deeply with the people and places you visit by learning to understand their language, history and culture.

About James

My name is James and I'm the founder of Smart Effective Learning

I've lived in 11 countries, speak 5 languages and enjoy nothing more than exploring a new place, learning about new culture or sitting down with a good history book!


If you’ve ever asked yourself:

  • What’s the best way to connect with locals while travelling?
  • What can I do to improve my understanding of other cultures and their history?
  • How can I get past the tourist traps and uncover the heart of places I visit?


Or if you just have a passion for learning new things and exploring the world around you... you're in the right place!

My Foundational Beliefs

  • Learning makes the world a better place because it allows us to understand the lives of others
  • You'll never truly understand yourself without understanding a little more of the world around you
  • The desire to understand the universe we live in is at the heart of what it means to be human and learning is the vehicle through which we search for understanding
  • Both travel  and learning allow us to make deeper connections with the people around us. People appreciate it when you learn about their lives and culture. It's an act of humility and respect that speaks volumes
  • You enrich your life and multiply your opportunities when you travel the world and open your mind to others
  • The ability to learn new skills allows you to create the life you want to live
  • We bring our dreams to life by taking action, constantly pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and by learning how to do things from those who've already done them. Travel allows us to live these experiences daily

Why I Do What I Do

It all started on my seventh (or was it eighth?) birthday…


I didn’t know it then, but the gift my parents gave me that day was the beginning of the curiosity that drives me to this day.


The gift?


A globe.


Seems like a pretty normal gift for a young kid, right? But this was no ordinary globe…


It could talk! No really... it could talk!


This globe had a built-in quiz feature. It would ask me questions, and I’d have to respond using the buttons you can see in the picture.


I spent hours and hours doing those quizzes.


It’s no wonder today that I can still visualise a map of the world in an instant.


Or name the capital city of almost any country in the world.


But that’s not why the globe was important.


What’s important is this:


For the first time, I became truly aware of the world around me.


I began to discover the names, shapes and contours of mysterious, far off lands.


And the stories and culture that each of these places had to share.


I was hooked.


I still am.


That gift made me an adventurer and a lifelong learner.


It has led me to visit almost 25 countries and learn 5 foreign languages.


It's a gift that keeps giving.


Today, I do what I do because I believe that learning empowers us live happy, meaningful lives and achieve our full potential.


Being able to learn new skills quickly and effectively is what enables me to live the lifestyle I want to live.


But it does something more than that…


It makes me happy.


Because learning effectively allows me to discover the world, connect with new people and indulge my curiosity.


And in doing so, it brings greater meaning and fulfilment to my life.


I firmly believe that learning can change your life and allow you to have the kinds of experiences that travel is really all about.


Smart Effective Learning is here to bring my experience to others who want to take control of their learning so they can take control of their travel, but more importantly, take control of their lives.

The childhood birthday gift that sparked my passion for learning.

Learning effectively allows me to discover the world, connect with new people and indulge my curiosity”

- James Granahan

“I firmly believe that learning can change your life and allow you to have the kinds of experiences that travel is really all about.”

- James Granahan

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