I learned Italian before my trip to Rome. It took me about 1 year to reach B1 level, by starting from A0 level. Later, I kept studying it until I did not reach the level I wanted.
I went to Italy in 2016 when my level was between B2-C1 level, I guess. and I was so happy I was able to use the language. I used to speak in Italian with salespeople, a taxi driver, one policeman (because at one moment I was lost and I needed some help).
Everyone were more than happy with my level. The salesperson spoke too much about his painting. It was too much information for me, some words were a bit challenging to understand but I got the point. The taxi driver used to make me too many questions about Serbian sport.
When I talked to a policeman, I was under the stress. That is why I did my best to memorize his words immediately so I could take my friend and myself back to our hotel. The policeman was very kind and he explained so well, so I did not have any problem in finding the address.
The cultural shock was the next thing:
In the afternoon, I wanted to drink some cup of coffee (and I did not want an espresso, I wanted a cappuccino since in Serbia we can drink it whenever we want and there is nothing wrong with that) and my friend from Naples ordered 3 cups of espresso coffee. I asked him with the disapproval tone and facial expression "Who on the Earth told you we'd like espresso"
He said: "But, you said you wanted a cup of coffee"
and I said "Yes, but not espresso. I wanted cappuccino. "
The barmen understood everything and he gave us cappuccino and my friend had the same "disapproval" face and he started to give me a lecture about this. My friend felt some small tension between us, so the poor guy pored the glass of water around the table. Since, my mind was thinking completely in Italian, I talked to him in Italian so he did not touch anything. Thank God the barman cleaned everything.
Then I simply decided to embrace this small change, as a part of their culture.