Yes, such distinctions seem too subtle to people living in single-nation countries. To them, generally, nation = country.
For example, having grown up in Czechoslovakia, I often had hard time trying to explain to people in other countries that Czechoslovakia was a country of two nations, and that I was not Czech but Slovak.
And if I said I was from Slovakia, people would either stare at me, or say, "Oh, Yugoslavia!" Sheesh! The situation has improved since Czechoslovakia has split up, and Slovakia became a separate country.
Probably the worst case of ignorance I experienced was shortly after I moved to Rhinelander, WI. I used to visit a local bookstore a lot. One day one of the booksellers told me to expect a phone call from a local High School teacher. She was getting ready to visit Siberia and was looking for someone who could give her some pointers about what to do and what to avoid. So the people in the bookstore gave her my number since I was from not far from Siberia. Holy cow!
I asked the bookseller if they carried any globes. They did, and she brought one. I showed her where Slovakia was (Central Europe). I showed her where Rhinelander was (North America, US, close to Canada). Then I showed her where Siberia was (North-East Asia, right across the Bering Strait from Alaska).
Then I said: "I'm not from 'not far from Siberia'. You are! You tell her all about it!"
The teacher never called. Either she was better at geography than my bookseller friends, or they called her and explained I was not from that part of the world after all.