Learning About America at the Beach

Dominican Republic Native Came to Study Language

By Casey Sullivan

Hampton Union, Friday, August 7, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Judet Arbage, an employee at T-Shirt City, helps a customer pick out one of the countless image selections the shop offers to print on their T-shirts.
[Casey Sullivan Photo]

HAMPTON -- Judet Arbage is from the Dominican Republic, and she has been spending her summers working at Hampton Beach in T-Shirt City at 109 Ocean Boulevard.

Since Arbage has been working at the shop she has learned a lot about American culture and said Hampton Beach is a lot different from the beach in her hometown. Among the many things that Arbage has found about the local beach which sets it apart from any other beach in the world, is the organization and security it offers.

"Where I'm from people drink right on the beach," she said. "Here you can't do that with the police around all the time. It's a lot safer."

Arbage originally came to Hampton Beach four years ago through a student program called CCUSA (Camp Counselors USA) offered in the Dominican Republic. The program is meant to immerse students in a foreign culture in order to teach students to speak a new language proficiently.

"We really like to learn from other cultures," said Arbage, referring to herself and her fellow employees at the T-shirt shop who are Turkish and Romanian.

Arbage's job at T-Shirt City consists of making T-shirts from the hundreds of images of artwork the store offers their customers.

These images range from pictures of dogs to pictures of skeletons to just plain text consisting of witty quotes and jokes.

"The most popular T-shirts are the funny ones and the ones we print right here," she said. "They only sell them at the beach stores. You can't find those in any city."

But Arbage was quick to point out that while the store specializes in the making and selling T-shirts, it also offers a diverse range of other sorts of beachwear, accessories and gifts.

Other popular items that tourists find themselves buying at the store include towels, tank tops, sunscreen,flip flops, hats, hoodies for cloudy days and even beach bags to help carry everything they've bought.

"We also do very well with bathing suits too," Arbage said. "We have everything you need for the beach."