Determinants of Global Korea Scholarship students’ word-of-mouth about Korea

Kadir Jun Ayhan, Moamen Gouda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


International student-mobility programs are one of the core programs countries employ as part of their public diplomacy portfolio. Policymakers assume that sponsored foreign students would develop positive beliefs about and emotions towards the host country, which in turn would lead to favorable behavior towards it. However, evaluations of such programs from a public diplomacy perspective are rare and Western-centric. In this paper, we analyze how Global Korea Scholarship students’ cognitive and affective evaluations of Korea influence their country image and word-of-mouth about Korea; i.e., in how they voluntarily share their experiences in Korea with others. We use variance-based partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to analyze the data obtained from surveying 1107 scholarship holding foreign students. Our findings suggest that students evaluate Korea most positively in terms of its culture and nature, while their evaluations are not as positive in terms of the integrity and values of the country. For positive word-of-mouth, affection towards Korea plays the most significant role, while for negative word-of-mouth, the students’ beliefs about the country’s integrity and values had the most influence. Our findings help identify the strengths and weaknesses in Korea’s country image which can, in turn, inform and shape policies accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


  • Country image
  • Global Korea Scholarship
  • Outcome evaluation
  • Public diplomacy
  • Student-mobility programs
  • Word-of-mouth


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