This is a great program that provided an awesome experience in New Zealand. The program is full-on, with great adventures and a lot of teaching - if you're thinking about this and planning to pursue the qualifications, be prepared for a lot of self-managed learning. We were able to see some of the most famous parts of the South Island (Milford, Aoraki/Mt. Cook, etc.), and develop a lot of technical skills. If you're planning to pursue work in outdoor education or outdoor tourism, this is a great first step, as it provides excellent training as well as great industry connections in New Zealand. The instructors are highly qualified and have more knowledge than you could possibly absorb in 3 months, and they have great industry connections. Everyone on the Pure Ex team works really hard to make sure the students are getting as much as possible out of the program both personally and professionally, and the qualifications and skills gained are marketable in a lot of industries.
What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you're thinking of doing this program, plan for an intense 3 months! The learning and travel can be exhausting at times. I bought a notebook the first week I was here to take notes and try to retain everything I'd learned. I also used my phone to take photos of notes that were drawn out by instructors, and videos of various climbing setups, etc. I bought a decent phone case that's waterproof and drop-proof prior to this course, and it was one of the best investments I made - it allowed me to use my phone for notes and photos without having to worry about it.
If you're thinking you want to be employed after the program, look into using a tourist visa while you're here for the program and then transitioning to a working holiday visa toward the end of your program to make the most of your time here! If you can, get a CV pulled together before the program starts so that it's easy to update with your pending qualifications, as job hunting during the program was especially time consuming and exhausting - the more you can do to set yourself up for success on that front, the better off you'll be when it comes time to find a job.
Generally, bring less than you think you'll need - there's very little from the US/Canada that you can't get once you're here - but bring a couple fun/comfort things. One of the best things I brought were my cozy fuzzy socks (the kind you would never wear out of the house) and a cozy sweatshirt. I already had a lot of camping/climbing/hiking gear, so I brought what I had, but you can definitely purchase additional things here quite easily if you're worried that what you have isn't correct. It's more expensive here than in the States, but better than bringing a bunch of stuff you don't need.