If we try to think what are the most powerful countries, it could be common to come up with countries such as USA, UK, France, German or China, etc.
Maybe it’s somehow based on the diplomatic, military or economic power.
However, if we try another way to think how a country is strong, or weak, by connecting the country to your own self?
It could be personal connection that usually happens in travelling overseas or knowing someone from another country.
After experienced the interaction to the people from other countries or in the foreign country, maybe you can feel the power of the country, with the meaning of “soft power.”
People produce positive emotion or negative emotion when they face different situations at different moments, and we can say that the image of a foreign country would be strongly connected to the emotions produced by things relevant to the country.
For example, you never know anyone from Turkey and you happened to have a Turkish roommate. After weeks, you realized that your Turkish roommate leave his stuff everywhere in the kitchen and bathroom and play music whole day noisily, you understand that he just can’t give consideration to his roommate.
In this situation, I believe you’ll have bad image to Turkey, even though you understand that he is just one single person from the country and not everyone from Turkey is like him.
In another example, your Vietnam roommate doesn’t wash his dishes.
He only washes his dishes BEFORE cooking and never washes after cooked.
Yes, it’s not a big deal.
It’s just an issue of dishes.
There are just flies, or bad smell. It’s not a big deal at all.
But if we think why your USA ex-roommate always washes his dishes after cooked, why most of my Japanese friends don’t leave their dirty dishes in the sink overnight, we know the difference from these countries.
How you think your behaviors would be to others will decide the image of your country to others.
Yes, you can say that it’s just a few cases which can’t represent the whole country.
However, what I want to say is not that it’s a good idea to paste bad label to a country while you have some bad memories related to it, but I want to say that you are representing your own country when you are in a foreign country or interacting with a foreign person.
You may be the only one he/she knows from your country.
The image you give him/her may be almost all images he/she has to your country.
If you don’t want people to have an image to your country as a “dirty country” or “a country where people don’t care others at all”, then please think about how you behave?
In my case, I definitely want others to feel that Taiwan is a great country where there are many good people.