Governments sponsor student-mobility programs with the expectation that students will build a more favorable and informed opinion of the host country which, in turn, will determine more favorable behavior towards the host country. Nevertheless, assessments of this logic are rare. Based on a survey of the Korean Government Scholarship Program’s alumni (n = 579), we analyze the alumni’s country image of South Korea and how this image determines their relationship maintenance behavior with South Korean people. Our findings show that the KGSP alumni’s image of South Korea partly explains the variance in their personal and professional relationship maintenance with South Koreans. Our findings show that the alumni’s emotions about South Korea influence their personal relationship maintenance behavior more than does each of the cognitive dimensions of the country image, while the functional dimension, which evaluates their beliefs about the country’s competencies and the competitiveness of its economic and political systems, has the highest influence on the alumni’s professional relationship maintenance.
- Country image
- Korean Government Scholarship Program
- Public diplomacy
- Relationship management
- Student-mobility programs