most popular country

The Most Popular Country



fun respect nonsense
image abroad well-liked
neutral index (2) nondescript
admire initially discipline
funny chill out perception
helm clueless at the helm
regard associate responsible
fee scandal get used to
hip (2) abroad





Germans may not be the most beautiful…or the most stylish…or the most fun-loving.

But they are the most liked by the rest of the world.

Nowhere does that come more of a surprise than in — Germany.

As to their image abroad, German are pretty clueless.

Journalist: “An idea on how well-liked you are in the world?”
Person one: “Me?”
Person two: “No. I have no idea about that.”
Person three: “Who? Deutsche Welle?”
Person four: “No, no!”

So which country do Germans think is the most popular?

Person one: “I think France is great. But I wouldn’t say it’s the most popular country in the world. It can’t be Germany though.”
Person two: “The English?”
Person three: “The Swedes?”
Person four: “Italians.”
Person five: “The Dutch.”
Person six: “Switzerland? It’s relatively neutral, nondescript.”
Person seven: “Somewhere relaxed, right?”
Person eight: “Germany. Because we’ve got curry-wurst!”

But it’s not about sausages. Here are five reasons why Germany tops this year’s nation brands index.

Number one, sports. The 2014 World Cup victory in Brazil. The national team initially earned global admiration and respect for the discipline they displayed on the field.

But then players and fans alike showed the world that despite the common perception, Germans can be pretty fun and chilled out too.

Number two, political image. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been at the helm for almost a decade. Her recipe for success: no nonsense governance. “And so I can only appeal to your sense of responsibility.”

No sign of any scandals. There’s that reputation for discipline again, something admired around the globe.

On to reason number three: the German economy. It’s not all about beer. Many German imports just keep going and going and going — especially cars. “Made in Germany” is associated with high quality, a hit with consumers the world over.

Number four, higher education. German universities are highly regarded and charge low fees. Every tenth student is international, placing Germany in third place behind the United States and Britain.

Finally, it’s the capital! Berlin oh Berlin. The capital city is loved by Berliners and visitors alike for its architecture and cultural offerings. It’s also super cool and hip. Last year a record eleven millions tourists visited the city.

The reaction to all that love and affection? Typically German.

Person one: “Oh my god!”
Person two: “I’m astonished!”
Person three: “What?”
Person four: “Nice. That’s great.”
Journalist: “Why do you think we’re so popular abroad?”
Person five: “No idea. Because we’re nice and friendly?”
Person six: “So we shouldn’t be so surprised at meeting nice people in Berlin from all over the world.”

Being popular is going to take some getting used to for Germans—well for some at least.


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1. Germans know and believe that their country is the most popular in the world. Is this correct or incorrect? Which countries do they think are the most well-liked?

2. What are the five main reasons why Germany is so popular?

3. Do people admire Angela Merkel’s government? Why is her government admired?

4. Is Germany’s economy very strong? Why is Germany’s economy so successful?

5. The most popular destination for international students is Germany. True or false?

6. Tourists are only interested in New York, London and Paris. Is this right or wrong?

7. Are Germans vain or humble about their status?
A. I am surprised that Germany is the most popular country for 2014. Yes or no?

B. If yes, which country do you like best? Why do you like this country? What about your friends, classmates or colleagues?

C. Which country would you like to live, work, study or visit the most? Why?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. What could people and countries around the world do?

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