I was actually born in Swindon and lived just outside London for a few years when my dad was stationed there.
When you get to Iowa and Ames you will immediately notice how much room and open space there is here. The State of Iowa is about the same size as the whole country of England yet only has a population of approximately 3 million people whereas England has around 57 million people. People here have big yards, big houses and big farms. Five hundred to a thousand acre farms are the minimum size here and many are much larger than that. You will notice that there are no traffic jams, long lines or crowded public places.
The University of Birmingham is very similar to Iowa State University and you probably are aware of that already. Similar in numbers of students, academics, curriculum offered, etc. Our campus is a lot more spread out, with lots of open public areas, parks, a lake and award-winning landscaping.
Ames, as a town, probably is very similar to Hereford, England. Similar in population, physical size and it's surroundings being agricultural. Hereford is about the same distance from Birmingham as Ames is from Des Moines, the capitol city of Iowa.
On the whole, I think that you will very much enjoy your experience here at Iowa State. One academic year will go very fast so I would make up a bucket list before hand of things that I would want to see and do besides partying and chasing women (not that there's anything wrong with that).
I would get involved with other students at every chance that I could because that's where your best experiences will be at. I would pick out a residence where contact with other students would be maximized and attend as many sporting events as possible, especially American football games and basketball games. Some of the students that you will come to know will invite you to their homes for holidays or weekend getaways and those trips are always a blast. Iowans are always friendly, easy to meet, exceedingly polite and very accepting of everyone.
You are in for one wonderful experience and once you are an Iowa State Cyclone you will always be an Iowa State Cyclone!!
Ah, Hereford is nice, more of a small town vibe, and it will be interesting to move into a more rural university location, as Selly Oak isn't exactly rural hahah.
Yeah, integration is one of my priorities, there isn't much point going halfway across the world to sit in a room by myself! Hopefully I will get to experience the 'American Dream' as much possible!
brah, that is mos def a cool story