Several of these students were members of large and powerful mercantile families with Glasgow roots, and followed in their father’s footsteps by travelling to Trinidad and Tobago, and increase the family’s fortune. William Orr, for example, was part of the rich and powerful Orr family who owned Barrowfield Estate, and he became a merchant after attending the University, travelling to Tobago. Robert Bogle also continued in the family profession after his studies, joining his father and uncles as a merchant in the West Indies.

Missionary work was another popular career for students travelling to Trinidad and Tobago. Arts students Reverend Alexander Kennedy and Reverend George Lambert were among the first Protestant missionaries to Trinidad. They helped to establish the Church of Scotland on the islands, preaching in Port of Spain, Arouca and San Fernando. Kennedy in particular was fiercely opposed to slavery earning both admiration and disdain for his outspokenness.

This outspokenness is a recurring trait in students venturing to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, with several students attaining important government positions in the settlements. John Halkett, for example, was the Governor of Tobago, and Finlay M’Farlane was Comptroller of His Majesty's Customs of the Island of Tobago.

Medical study at the University also became popular among Trinidadian students. The Crichlow brothers of Trinidad, Charles Adolphus and Nathaniel, had a merchant father but both came to the University to study Medicine, becoming prominent international medics in their own right. While Campbell Stirling, MD, travelled to Tobago as a doctor, and Robert Douglas was also based there as a surgeon, both with family ties on the island.

This was the case for the majority of students born on the islands and had familial ties to Scotland. Many studied at the University and then settled in Scotland afterwards. For example, the Wilson brothers, James, John Ross and Tom Taylor, who were involved in a weaving business in Falkirk after completing their studies. Likewise, Peter Brodie, whose father owned the Hampden plantation on Tobago, a large settlement which was comprised of many slaves, travelled to Glasgow to attend University and settled here.

It is evident that the islands of Trinidad and Tobago were a popular destination for ambitious students of the University of Glasgow in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not only was this because of the economic opportunities which the plantations offered, but the colonies also attracted determined medics, missionaries and government workers. Moreover, the University continued to attract students born on the islands, with many travelling thousands of miles to be educated at one of Scotland's oldest and most prestigious educational institutions.