Working in the soft­ware devel­op­ment divi­sion of IBM’s Bei­jing office, North­eastern com­puter sci­ence major Brad Osgood found his lin­guistic focus shift from the com­puter lan­guage of ones and zeros to a new, human lan­guage: Man­darin Chinese.

Osgood’s expe­ri­ence, working just blocks from Olympic Park, enabled him to dis­cover an unex­pected pas­sion for China’s cul­ture and language—and an unex­pected path after graduation.

I just fell in love with it there,” he says. “My goal is to learn Chi­nese and go back and get a job there.”

So deter­mined is Osgood to return to China after he grad­u­ates in 2010 that he has con­tinued to pursue his Man­darin studies at the Boston Lan­guage Insti­tute, deter­mined to become fluent in another year, he says.

Osgood landed his posi­tion at IBM, which ended in July, after deciding to seek an inter­na­tional expe­ri­ence to round out his col­lege education.

Soon after he arrived in Jan­uary, Osgood made friends with col­leagues who took him on trips, and par­tic­i­pated in weekly cultural-​​exchange exer­cises at the office. On Fri­days, Osgood and col­leagues would make pre­sen­ta­tions to one another high­lighting a cul­tural detail of their country, or hometown.

Early on, Osgood noticed without having it spelled out in a pre­sen­ta­tion that Bei­jing was brim­ming with oppor­tu­nity for West­erners, and filled with a pos­i­tive, upbeat energy, he says.

Every­where you look in China, it seems like there is con­struc­tion going on. The atmos­phere is so pos­i­tive,” Osgood says. “Most people in Bei­jing just seem so happy, as though they finally have this chance in the world.”

He adds, “West­erners are in great demand because the country wants so badly to con­nect with the West, and the busi­ness world.”

Just before he returned to Boston, Osgood trav­eled with a coworker to Hunan and Hubei provinces, and as he grew more con­fi­dent in his con­ver­sa­tional Chi­nese, and his ability to nav­i­gate the con­ti­nent, he promised him­self a return trip.

I can’t wait to go back.”