Although most foreign students eventually excel at learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA): (The formal Arabic language), they often struggle when they want to converse with other Arabic speakers in the local dialect. This often affects their confidence as they become concerned with not being able to keep the conversation going, or not finding the correct Arabic language words and phrases when dealing with native speakers.
It’s true that locals do understand Modern Standard Arabic; however, you should be fully aware that they only use it when writing formally, and they do not speak it. And so, if you are eager to interact and blend with the locals, then Modern standard Arabic is not your most useful choice, since people in Arabic-speaking countries do not speak Modern Standard Arabic in their everyday lives and daily conversations. What they do speak however, is their local dialect.
So, If your goal is to enhance your Arabic conversational skills and start speaking easily as you interact with the locals, then it’s time to start learning and practicing the Levantine dialect.