Meanwhile, the thousands of international collegians who travel to the Jersey shore every summer under the State Department's J-1 visa program serve pancakes, clean hotel rooms and make sure kids keep their hands, arms and feet inside amusement rides at all times.
The collegians work, some of them say, up to 15 hours per day, yet seem genuinely happy to be here.
"I was supposed to be in, what's it called . . . freezing . . . Alaska. I was supposed to go Alaska, but there was a mistake and I came here to Morey's Piers," said Olesia Stepanchuk, a Ukrainian who, at 20, is making her first visit to the United States. "It's a wonderful time."
Stepanchuk had hoped to become a "cool snowboarder" while working as a housekeeper up in Alaska, but being a lifeguard at an oceanside waterpark in Wildwood isn't so bad, she said, smiling. America was terrifying at first with English not being the strongest of the several languages she speaks, but the linguistics student has persevered. She just misses her mom.
"This wasn't just an exchange program. It was way for me to see and try new things and in a sense, grow up," she said. "I miss my mom, but I'm growing up."
Those who have vacationed at the Jersey shore in recent decades has heard the strange and varied accents urging them to buy outlandish T-shirts on the boardwalk or sink an overinflated basketball into a bent hoop for a chance to win a stuffed animal. It all began, one tourism official recalls, in the 1970s as businesses looked for employees who could work beyond Labor Day into the shore's "second season."
"Locally, colleges start so early that they would lose all those employees," said Diane Wieland, Cape May County's Director of Tourism. "It helps everybody and it helps the season, it helps businesses stay open longer."
For years, the Jersey shore was an "Emerald Isle" with sunburned students from Ireland making up the bulk of the work force. The Irish have all but disappeared over the last decade as the economy improved there. They've been replaced by thousands of students from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
"It was a rite of passage for Irish students," said Denise Beckson, director of human resources for Morey's Piers.
At Morey's Piers, J-1 workers account for 50 percent of its 1,500 summer employees. While the J-1 program has been criticized for having poor oversight and is accused of taking jobs from young American workers, employers say it's critical to their success.
"Without this group, we wouldn't be able to fill these positions," Beckson said. "We would not be able to remain open as much as we are."
Morey's Piers not only welcomes the student workers, they send representatives to Romania, Turkey and other locales far from Wildwood during the offseason to look for them. They assess the students' English skills and their people skills to determine whether they'd be better chatting with customers at the water-balloon race or cooking buckets of french fries. Some aspects of the students' culture need a few minor tweaks before they get to New Jersey.
"We learned that in Bulgaria, if you're saying 'yes,' you're not nodding your head up and down. In Bulgaria that means 'no', " Beckson said.
Once in the U.S., the students often live in large numbers in boarding homes or condos off the main strips of the resort towns to save money. They rarely have a day off, but travel to Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City when they do. Most of them leave a few weeks open at the end of their stay to travel.
Some get homesick, others fall in love and even stay here in the United States. There are few problems, employers said, besides the occasional hospital visit for an injury.
Atlantic City, however, is not the typical, family-friendly Jersey shore resort and J-1 students who work, live and visit are often forced to develop street smarts they didn't need back home.
Last September, Konstantin Kraev, a 22-year-old J-1 worker who had recently graduated from college in Russia, was shot and killed in what appeared to be a robbery. His slaying remains unsolved.
Authorities said Kraev, who worked in an arcade at the Trump Taj Mahal, had walked a friend home to keep her safe.
"I am told they have a reasonably tight-knit community," Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said of the J-1 workers in the city. "They probably have some historical knowledge of Atlantic City before they get here."
Almost every J-1 student worker at an Atlantic City nightspot recently knew about Kraev's story, but none was scared off by it.
"It's just different here in America, that's all. It's not better or worse," said Igor Najbovski, 21, a Macedonian who works in Ocean City and hopes to be a police officer back home. "The good opportunity outweighs the negative."
And almost all the students see their visit to the Jersey Shore as a good opportunity, another cultural notch on their way to bigger and better things, like Aytac Akbal. The Morey's Piers employee studies industrial engineering in his native Turkey. Despite being just 23, with the sun and sand behind him on a beautiful summer afternoon, he has known exactly what his future holds.
"When I graduate I will go to China," he said. "I will have my own business."
Akbal and the thousands of other students will toil away here, some until October, before they back to the classrooms.
Our trade with Italy has already fallen apart, though. Snooki and the gang are back in Seaside Heights, getting paid far more than the student maids, ride operators and waitresses, all for being "tamarri."